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Right on track

Formula 1 is slowly but surely gaining a fan base in the country. After the inaugural Indian Grand Prix at Noida’s Buddh Circuit last year, the sport’s popularity is soaring to new heights

entertainment Updated: Mar 13, 2012 14:11 IST
Collin Rodrigues
F1-s-E20-has-looked-fast-over-the-course-of-a-single-lap-in-the-hands-of-Kimi-Raikkonen-Getty-Images
F1-s-E20-has-looked-fast-over-the-course-of-a-single-lap-in-the-hands-of-Kimi-Raikkonen-Getty-Images

Formula 1 is slowly but surely gaining a fan base in the country. After the inaugural Indian Grand Prix at Noida’s Buddh Circuit last year, the sport’s popularity is soaring to new heights. Keeping up with the country’s growing enthusiasm towards the sport, two drivers from the Sahara Force India team, Nico Hülkenberg and Paul Di Resta were recently in the city.

Talking about the sport, Paul says, “The demand for F1 in India is growing. The new Buddh international circuit was very successful last year. Sahara Force India has given a name to the sport here, and will really do it a lot of good.”

Nico adds, “People need to get a feel of F1 cars — hear them, witness the noise — so a couple of road shows all around India with the real cars running around would interest the audience. Maybe that way, you can get their attention to F1 and not just cricket.”

As part of the promotions, Nico and Paul interacted with F1 fans at Hard Rock Café, even clicking photographs with most of them. Says Nico, “I’ve made many trips to India. The people are very warm and welcoming here. I feel very comfortable. It’s a very different culture compared to Europe.”

All the contest winners who interacted with the duo, brought down by Kingfisher Premium, were men, though abroad F1 is associated with Grid Girls who add colour and glamour to the sport. So what is the duo’s take on Indian girls? “They are very beautiful,” says Paul. He adds, “There are a lot of women in the country, given its 1.3 billion population. There’s obviously a lot of choice. Indian women are very striking. And some of them that we have worked with have been more than friendly.”

What about Bollywood, which is popular in Nico’s home country Germany? “I have never watched a Bollywood movie. Though Shah Rukh Khan is famous back home,” he smiles.