It all started with Dr Vijay Mallya picking up majority stake in a small F1 team a few years back. Earlier known as Spyker F1, it was soon rechristened to Force India. This daring act by Mallya made many stand up and take notice of a country and its people slowly coming out and making their presence felt globally other than IT. (Update: As of last week, Sahara Pariwar has bought a 42% stake in Force India team and has rechristened it again to Sahara Force India.)
The small F1 fan base across the country had a reason to cheer and soon the fan following started growing in numbers. Sports bars across the country started showing races live in large screens and this grew with Force India team improving their performance season after season. This eventually encouraged JP Group to take a very bold step and invest top dollars in building an international standard race track on the outskirts of the national capital Delhi.
Today, thanks to the determination of many and the backing of a billion hearts, we have an F1 track in the country and the first Indian F1 GP is all set to take place at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida starting on the 28th of October 2011.
The two Indian F1 drivers Narian Karthikeyan and Karun Chandok are doing their part in promoting the event across the country along with Vodafone bringing in Lewis Hamilton to Bangalore for a show two weeks back. Yesterday the 24th of October, we got a chance to be part of Karun Chandok’s media briefing in Delhi where he spoke about his passion for the sport and how delighted he is to see India on the F1 racing calender. He is eagerly looking forward to the first practice on Friday. (Latest update is that Karun will not be racing this weekend for the Lotus team but will be the test driver)
With an event of such magnitude (1,25,000 plus fans expected), there is bound to be a lot of people trying to get to the venue to catch a piece of the action and be the first to watch an F1 race in India. So here are a few pointers which will help you navigate around the city of Delhi and the circuit better. Hope to bump into you all at the circuit cos we are not missing this for the world.
For latest images of Buddh International F1 circuit click here
Tips for F1 Race in Delhi:
- If you have not bought your F1 tickets, then better rush to http://www.bookmyshow.com and also pick up your bus tickets as they are the cheapest means to reach the track.
- Get hold of the metro route map and the Delhi city map at the information kiosk at the airport. This will give you all the metro routes to move around the city and get a general idea of where you are.
- The F1 venue is about 50 kms from Delhi city centre and will take about 2.5 hrs to get there which is in Greater Noida and not visible in the city map.
- JP Group is providing bus pick ups from various parts of the city and will be the best way to get to the circuit. Try this online map which will give details of the pickup points in the city. You will have to buy these bus tickets in advance to avoid last minute rush.
- Flight tickets are expensive but still available in case you are traveling from elsewhere. An airport express link is available at T3 which will get you to the city centre from where you can switch trains to Noida Sector 18 or take a bus. From Sector 18, you will have to find your own transport or take the F1 shuttle bus to reach the circuit.
- Book your hotel either in Noida, Gurgaon or South Delhi as its easier to reach the circuit. Decent hotels are priced at Rs 2,500 going upwards
- Carry your water bottle, cap and umbrella or raincoat in case you need to use them but do not carry any sharp objects or inflammable products as the security is very strict at the entry point.
- Finally, a good SLR camera with good zoom is essential if you want to catch a part of this action