The inaugural Indian GP will now not only be the finale in the revised 2011 calendar, it could also be the 'coolest' race of the season.
The FIA World Motorsport Council's decision in Barcelona on Friday to re-instate the Bahrain Grand Prix, which was scheduled to be the season-opener but was postponed due to civil unrest in the Arab country, means the Indian Grand Prix, which will vacate its October 31 slot for the Bahrain GP, will now be held in mid-December.
With the average minimum temperature in the Capital of below 10 degree Celsius, the race could be the coldest in the 2011 calendar, and easily the coolest in Asia. In tracks such as Sepang, where the temperature is hot and humid, the race becomes an endurance event not only for the drivers, but also the sweaty fans.
Of course, the climate would benefit the fans more than the drivers. The cockpit of an F1 car at the end of a 300-km race is almost 60 degrees Celsius.
"The drivers will probably enjoy it a bit more, but it wouldn't make much of a difference. The cockpit of an F1 car is like an oven by the end of the race," Hispania Racing Team driver Narain Karthikeyan told HT.
Karthikeyan, however, was more cautious of the smog that clouds the Capital on most winter mornings. "In winter testing, the car operates in colder conditions so racing won't be much different in technical terms. The one concern is the morning fog. That could make things a little more testing," said Karthikeyan. He was also excited over India being given the final race. "To host the season finale is very prestigious."
However, India won't host the season finale on a regular basis. The FIA also released their 2012 calendar on Friday, with Brazil again hosting the finale and the Indian GP scheduled again for the final weekend of October.
The way Sebastian Vettel has been going this season, it may only prove to be academic as the young German looks poised to wrap up his second straight drivers' title well in advance. However, moving the race to December will add a dash of local flair.
"I think that by the last race of the season, the car will be working as good as it possibly can. It gives me a great chance to have a good outing," he said.