The Red Bull Renault Formula One show car drives on the newly-inaugurated Buddh International Circuit ahead of the Indian Grand Prix in Greater Noida.
So, it's finally here! The Indian Grand Prix weekend extravaganza is all set to kick off today with the first bits of on-track action. I'm really looking forward to driving around the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) in the first free practice session where I will take over Heikki Kovalainen's car.
For me, it sort of completes a circle as I first visited the BIC site in April 2009 when it was just an empty piece of dirt and the workers were toiling away to create the elevation changes.
Over the last 18 months, I've visited the site pretty much every three weeks and to see it develop has been like watching a 'Mega Structures' programme on the Discovery Channel! And, here we are today at the culmination of the programme --- the worldwide unveiling of the completed "mega structure".
For the last couple of days, I've been cycling around the track with former team-mate Bruno Senna, who now races for Renault. This is Bruno's first visit to India and it was nice to hear his first impressions of the track layout, which was fantastic given his non-biased standpoint.
I kept telling Bruno how I still find it hard to believe that the race weekend is here and we at this incredible facility in India.
Friday morning's programme in the car would mainly involve gathering information about the track. The first hour of the session could be a bit quiet as normally the teams wait for each other to go and clean the track! We are all restricted to just two sets of tyres in this first session as per the FIA rules, so we will have to use the time on the track wisely.
Expect a flurry of activity in the last 30 minutes as the track cleans up and people start going for lap times! It's going to be such a privilege to be one of the first 25 people in the world to drive an F1 car on the BIC — and I am so excited about it.
Karun Chandhok is a Team Lotus driver and brand ambassador of the Buddh International Circuit.