Formula One stars to make their India debut in Oct 2011

Formula One stars to make their India debut in Oct 2011

The 5.14-km Jaypee Circuit in Greater Noida, being constructed some 50 km from New Delhi, will stage the 18th leg of the 2011 Formula One season on October 30, subject to the facility passing a final inspection by FIA.

Estimated to cost about Rs 1,000 crore to build, the circuit is expected to be completed by June 2011. Built in 875 acres as part of the 2500-acre Jaypee Greens Sports City, which also proposes to have a cricket stadium with a seating capacity of one lakh and a 25,000-seat hockey stadium apart from an already existent 18-hole golf course, the Formula One circuit will initially seat 150,000 fans, with provisions to expand it to 200,000.

When the race gets under way next October with the likes of Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso—among others—vying for top honours, it will mark the culmination of a process that began in October 2007, when the FIA signed a Rs 1,600-crore contract with JPSK Sports Private Limited to organise a Formula One race in India.

The JPSK, owned by Jaiprakash Associates, is the majority stake-holder with 74 per cent. Sulba Realty Private Limited owned by Indian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi’s son Sumeer Kalmadi (13 per cent) and Delhi-based Trackwork International Pvt Ltd (13 per cent) are the other partners.

“It’s (India) a large, large country with a big population and it’s good for the sponsors, car manufacturers and everyone involved in Formula One,” said Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One supremo.

Challenging circuit

Designed by noted German architect Hermann Tilke, the circuit is expected to be a speedy but challenging one designed to provide the thrills and spills that passionate Formula One fans in India should gladly lap up. Tilke, it must be stressed, has already designed circuits in Bahrain, Istanbul, Shanghai, Sepang (Malaysia), Valencia, Abu Dhabi and in Seoul, which will make its Formula One debut next month.

“As of three weeks back, we were one week ahead of the schedule drawn up for the construction of the facility,” Vicky Chandhok, chairman (four-wheeler racing) of the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India, told Deccan Herald from Chennai. “We have 24 German engineers on-site, monitoring the development of the facility, and there is absolutely no doubt that we will be fully ready to stage the event well before the official deadline.”

Chandhok, himself an ace rallyist in the past and the father of HRT Formula One driver Karun, is involved with the Jaypee Circuit in an advisory capacity. “We have two Formula One drivers, an F-1 team (Force India), it’s but natural that we should also host Formula One races,” he said.

“We are a technology-advanced nation, it is no empty boast, and no sport in the world uses more advanced technology than F-1. Viewed from that perspective, India deserves to host F-1 races,” he said.

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