By Rajarshi Gupta at BIC
Exactly a year ago to the date, the Buddh International Circuit opened its arms to the world, as India set its first steps to be recognised as a major Formula One player. Force India had already attempted to stamp its presence but with the advent of the impressive race circuit in Noida, the world had to take a more serious notice. The parties, the race, the big crowds and the agreeable weather helped India make a grand debut in 2011.
On returning to India at the fag end of the season, Red Bull Team Principal, Christian Horner, said the BIC continued to impress him: “The fast corners, the slow corners are all great. It is so good to see the evolution.”
Sauber boss, MonishaKaltenborn, who spent the first six years of her life in India, sounded more emotional in her assessment of the Noida race track: “People welcomed us with a lot of warmth last year and now again. To get away from all the initial hiccups and come this far is a great achievement. I feel great to be back here.”
The inaugural edition of the Indian race, though well organised, had a few embarrassing moments too when a dog ran onto the tracks and the dust from the tracks caused problems for the drivers in the first practice session. However, the BIC has come a long way in a rather short span with McLaren team supremo, Mark Whitmarsh, also giving his nod to the Indian organisers.
“There has been great enthusiasm and a lot of excitement in India but we have to ensure it doesn’t go flat. India is an important market and the passion needs to be built upon,” Whitmarsh said.
It was not just the Team Principals who remarked on the steadfast improvement of a track that has already been billed as world-class by many, but fans from various corners of the world, mostly those of who assembled at the Buddh for the first time, found the infrastructure as good as any.
“I was at the Japanese and Korean races too and I can tell you, India is right up there with the best. I like the look of the track and the atmosphere is perfect for an adrenaline-pumped race over the weekend. I am looking forward to Saturday,” said Tim Smith before returning his attention to Ferrari in the second practice session.
With Sunday expected to be a full-house day and the teams enjoying constructive practice sessions today (Friday), the Indian Grand Prix is ready to make all the right noises, again.