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Darren Heath
Posted By: Matt Meadows  |  26 Oct 2011   |  9:00 pm GMT  |  5 comments

The Formula One fraternity heads to India for the first time this week, keenly anticipating the nations first Grand Prix event. The race will be sure to boost India’s passion and image within the sport, as well as allowing people within F1 the chance to experience a new culture. The event will be particularly special for Lotus reserve driver, Karun Chandhok, whose father has been instrumental in bringing the race to India and building the track.

Although the Indian driver has only competed in one race this season, he had high hopes that he would have the chance to contest in his inaugural home Grand Prix. However, with Team Lotus’ ambitions concentrated on 10th place in the Constructors’ Championship and an eye on next years car, CEO Tony Fernandes decided to keep the driver line-up unchanged. “I am sure there will be fans in India who want to see Karun race for us on Sunday we had to make the best decision for the future of the team,” he said. Although Chandhok will be disappointed to miss out on a race seat he will still have the opportunity to soak up the excitement of the new track during FP1 on Friday.

The first Indian Grand Prix is the result of a growing economy and determination from the nations’ Government, public and Formula One itself. Since the arrival of Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok the fan base in the country has grown rapidly. The induction of Force India in 2008 has also added much more interest to the sport, and their recent partnership with the Sahara Group, which saw the Indian conglomerate buy 42.5% of shares in the team for around $100 million, illustrated India’s enthusiasm for Formula One.

The north India circuit may seem a world away from the regular European races, but as Formula One heads into unchartered territory this weekend, they can be sure that their hosts will put on an event to remember.

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5 Comments
  1. kaushal says:

    determination from the nations’ Government, public and Formula One itself.

    Just want to clarify that Government of India DO NOT consider F1 as a Sport and there has been no support for the Government except giving land to JPSI group.

    GoI considers F1 as a entertainment and has levied hefty taxes on JPSI.

  2. goferet says:

    For sure the Indian Grand Prix is going to be a cracking race for this circuit with it’s elevation changes promises to be a mouth watering prospect plus the fact that this race is just a couple of races till end of season, it will play a critical role in future close WDCs.

    As for Karun, I don’t care if his Father owns the track but he sure as hell doesn’t deserve a drive for how in heavens name could he have got lapped by Riccardo in a HRT the last time he was in the car – Crazy!

    To be honest, I don’t know where the Indian F1 star is going to come from. True, Indians are passionate petrol- heads but all the ones I know are more into rally than F1.

    Anyway, I guess we’re going to hear a lot of that ”Made in India” sound track this weekend but lets not forgot the poor farmers who were shafted by the local government who went on to make a colossal profit by re-selling their land.

    Roll on the weekend!

  3. Owen says:

    Like the races in China, Malaysia and Korea, the Indian Grand Prix will surely be overshadowed by the ignorance on display concerning the extreme disparity between rich and poor in the country.

    I am all for having more races in different locales, but when the government prefers to spend money on lining Bernie Ecclestones’ daughters’ expensive pockets instead of infrastructure and services for their own population, surely you have to wonder about the morality of the sport promoting itself on the back of such circumstances.

  4. Rob Newman says:

    It is a pity that Chandok is not driving this weekend. He is better than Karthikeyan. But I can understand the team’s point of view. Unfortunately Chandok didn’t do a better job when he got the opportunity.

    There are still arguments going on whether India really needs F1. F1 is the rich man’s sport. Many countries are still giving donations to India worth millions of dollars. Time will tell if India really needs F1.

    Let’s hope there won’t be any descriptions to the race weekend. Heard they have already had several power failures at the circuit.

  5. Alex P says:

    @Owen

    FYI This is a private venture by a large construction consortium in India.The Government has not provided any sort of funding or incentives for this venture.

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