If anything, the inaugural Formula One Indian Grand Prix at Greater Noida Sunday gave birth to a new culture of motorsport in a country that otherwise is obsessed with cricket, Bollywood and of course, politics.
For sure, promoters Jaypee Group and the Buddh International Circuit felt the birth pangs, but the new born appears healthy and a bundle of joy. From here on, the future of this ‘child’ is dependent on those responsible for it – the Indian motorsports honchos.
To an extent, the huge embarrassment of the government-supported Commonwealth Games in Delhi last year has been somewhat compensated by the BIC that is comparable to some of the best Formula One tracks in the World.
The Hermann Tilke-designed 5.14 Kms long circuit marked by an undulating 1.2 Kms straight and the driver’s delight of a ‘Parabolica’ (turns 10 through 12), has tremendous potential to become the very best and as double World champion Fernando Alonso remarked, the BIC can get better over the years.
The facility built by a corporate that overcame massive odds, not to speak of the usual skepticism and hordes of Doubting Thomases who dot the Indian landscape, is something the country can be justifiably proud of. Of more significance is that it has paved the way for motorsport in India to move to the next level.
The very fact that a clutch of Indians racing in the two support races, even got to drive on a full-fledged Formula One track and on a Grand Prix weekend in itself was a huge plus, for they would have gained immensely by the experience.
For Indian motorsport, the hard work begins now and the eyes would be on the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) to build on the resounding success of the October 28-30 weekend that will go down as a historic and epochal moment in the country’s racing history.
And when Sebastian Vettel brought home his Red Bull car while completing his third career treble of Pole, Fastest Lap and Win, the country would have heaved a collective sigh of relief that the event passed off smoothly in front of an estimated global television audience of 500 million besides the capacity 1.2 lakh spectators at the venue.
There may have been glitches in the lead up to the race weekend, but certainly, there was no doubting the commitment on part of the promoters who surmounted last minute hassles and pin pricks in the form of cargo clearances, taxes and a vagabond canine.
It stands to reason that the Indian Grand Prix can only get better. The dust factor that added a few creases of worry is sure to be addressed and once the facility develops over the years, there is every possibility that India will become a favourite Formula One destination.
The drivers who entertained the fans over three days have all endorsed the circuit even though there are shades of Sepang International Circuit in the BIC layout, but that is an issue hardly worth a debate, for overall, the Indian Grand Prix was an unqualified success.
The promoters and organizers have another year to build further on the edifice while India, and specifically New Delhi, like other Formula One venues, will ease into the world of Grand Prix racing.
(Anand Philar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)