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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

F1 merchandise hits the Capital
Vaishali Bhambri, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, September 02, 2011
First Published: 17:44 IST(2/9/2011)
Last Updated: 01:55 IST(3/9/2011)
HRT Formula One driver Narain Karthikeyan arrives for the third practice session of the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix at Sepang circuit outside Kuala Lumpur.

As the countdown begins for the Indian Grand Prix, which kicks off at Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida on October 28, F1 fever has gripped the Capital big time. Retailers, restaurateurs and designers, everyone is gearing up to cash in on the new formula of fun.

Online retailers inkfuit.com are launching a range of F1 tees in a few days. “This is a new dawn for Indian sports as the celebrated F1 makes a foray in India. We’ve been getting a lot of requests for tees from fans and decided to make two-three t-shirts on the theme,” says Kashyap Dalal, CEO, inkfruit.com.

“We are coming up with special stickers that say ‘What the F1?’ — it’s our comic take on this grand sporting event,” says Rahul Anand of kitsch retailers, Happily Unmarried.  Party Hunterz has introduced checkered flags ( Rs. 100) and balloons (R25) for fans to carry to the race tracks.

“We also have a range of F1 party gear such as F1 mugs and tablecloth,” adds Aditya Kapoor, CEO, Party Hunterz. Allied The Party Shop has been receiving orders for customised mugs, photo frames and wall clocks. “F1 toy cars are our biggest sellers right now,” says Lakshay Mehra, of the shop.

Mercedes-Benz India, automobile partners of the event, also has range of jerseys, caps and jackets available on their website. “The merchandise is a big hit internationally and we expect the sales to rise a lot in India,” says Debashis Mitra, director, sales and marketing, Mercedes-Benz India.

Adding glamour to the fun is Delhi-based designer Mandira Wirk, who will be designing clothes for the F1 cheerleaders, aka Grid Girls. “The designs will have hints of the colours of the national flag and a lot of zipper details,” Wirk said in a recent interview.

Drinking merry to the F1 theme
Get into racing mode at two F1 themed pubs in town — Chicane in Noida and Pebble Street in New Friends Colony.
Chicane will be adding images of the Noida circuit to its decor and Pebble Street will screen the races live.

Let the game begin
The Buddh International Circuit has a digital avatar in the game 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship, which will be launched on September 23 by Zapak. “Last year our F1 game sold above 20,000 units. We expect even more business this year,” says Rohit Sharma, CEO, Reliance Entertainment (digital business).


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