Formula One track in India might still be sometime away, but Rajpath is likely to be thronged on Sunday, when ING Renault unleash their 2007 Formula One cars on its smooth road.
Lucas Di Grassi, here after witnessing the culmination of F1 season in his hometown Sao Paolo, looked relieved after a tough year where his team, led by Fernando Alonso and Nelsinho Piquet, who is expected on Sunday, fought back to finish fourth in the constructors' standings.
What brings Renault here is the market — they already have Logan, a joint venture with Mahindra and are planning to roll out a new low cost vehicle by 2011. So Di Grassi was a Renault man all through his conversation but didn't mind speaking about his planned tests for Honda in Barcelona this November.
He will be joined by Bruno Senna, nephew of Ayrton Senna, in testing the RA108. “Look, I am a race driver first and my aim is to drive in Formula One. With (Nelson) Piquet and (Fernando) Alonso already set for Renault's campaign next year, I don't think I'll get a chance. If things go well during tests, I could get an even bigger opportunity (with Honda).” The reply, quick and unabashed, was to the fact that he is one of the five people on Renault's Driver Development Programme. But then, this is the normal course professional drivers take.
Having rubbed shoulders with Fernando Alonso, Di Grassi has got enough tricks. “You get a lot to learn from Fernando.”
The 24-year-old, who came into F1 after a fine GP2 series record — he finished second behind Timo Glock in 2007, started with karting in Brazil. He shifted to England before good things happened.