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It's formula won for India

india Updated: Oct 30, 2011 08:50 IST
Sukhwant Basra
Sukhwant Basra
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Red-Bull-driver-Sebastian-Vettel-of-Germany-s-car-gets-a-pit-service-during-the-third-practice-session-ahead-of-Sunday-s-Indian-Formula-One-Grand-Prix-at-the-Buddh-International-Circuit-in-Noida

A real estate giant with a hazy business plan but truckloads of money stated over three years ago that it would make an F1 track. Bemused reaction greeted the announcement. Snide remarks followed.

This Sunday, while the Jaypee Group may not be laughing all the way to the bank — after all, a Rs 1,700 crore outlay will take some years to recover — it has surely earned the right to chortle away in delight at the amazed reactions pouring in.

"It is probably the smoothest track in the world," said Red Bull driver Mark Webber, a veteran of 175 races.

"It is the best new circuit in F1 that I have ever seen," said triple world champion Jackie Stewart.

He is backed by McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who feels "it is very fast and flowing and the grip level is fantastic".

The dogs have been chained. The track did not see any animal intrusion on Saturday. http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/301011/30_10_pg19a.jpg

The recovery teams — comprised largely of rally drivers — have reduced the time taken to extract a crashed car down to five minutes.

That is far better than many new tracks.

The dust, a regular feature for all newly constructed tracks, was a matter of concern as it leads to loss of control. That has dissipated off the racing line.

Formula 1 has arrived in India and it is here for five years for sure. The moment one steps into the 875-acre Buddh International Circuit facility, it takes the senses some time to come to grips with the fact that this is a venue in India.

If the ignominy of the Commonwealth Games fiasco left a question mark on India's ability to construct world-class stadia and host international sporting events, the Indian F1 track sweeps that off the picture.

Current world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull took all of a minute and 24 seconds to complete the 5.14-km circuit and earn the first spot on the grid.

The challenging nature of the gradient change in the track — it's 14 degrees from the base at its highest point — and width that actively encourages overtaking sets up the Airtel Indian GP as one of the most exciting races of the season.

And the best bit is that it's here to stay.