The Indian Premier League, 2010 Commonwealth Games and the recent ICC World Cup has taken spectator comfort for sports lovers in the country to another level, as more people are lapping up the corporate box experience. But, what if your hospitality tickets ensured not only a chance to soak in the action in luxury but also the option to mingle with the very stars whom you came to see?
While it may take some time before a corporate box in your nearest cricket stadium will give you the chance to celebrate with your favourite players, when the world biggest sporting circus, Formula One, hits Indian shores in the last week on October this year you could share a tete-a-tete with the biggest names in motor sport including the likes Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso and reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel. And, all this for a three-day paddock pass that costs $4,600.
In the other F1 races in Asia this season a paddock club pass for the weekend costs between $4,000-5,000. A paddock pass for the Malaysian GP costs $4,200. In the Chinese GP it will set you back by $4,200, while in Abu Dhabi it will cost $5,000.
In addition to the race promoters, individual F1 teams also sell passes to their paddock.
The F1 paddock in Sepang, like in most other circuits, is built above the pit garage. The luxurious hub offers an unparalleled viewing, and listening, experience. While the decibel count in the grandstand stays above 120 dB, over the equivalent of a jumbo jet taking off, for almost the entire duration of the one and half hour long race in the paddock it is a more comfortable 60dB.
However, a complimentary paddock pass isn't that easy to come by. HRT's Narain Karthikeyan gets three paddock passes per race. "One is for him, one for his trainer, and one for his wife. So anyone who's counting on some F1 contact for complimentary passes could be in for a rude shock," said Karthikeyan's media manger.
Local lads dominate first asia series race
Sepang: Malaysian drivers Nabil Jeffri and Afiq Yazid made home advantage count in the re-christened JK Racing Asia Series completing a 1-2 finish in the first race of the series on Saturday. Jeffri registered the fastest speed of the day when he touched 149.77kmph on the grandstand straight.
Indian driver Karun Chandhok said: "This is a great platform for budding drivers. If you do well and move on to the GP2 level, you are bound to get noticed." "What separates you from the big drivers is experience. As you progress, the sky is the limit," added Karun.
(The writer's trip has been sponsored by JK tyre)