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2011 Indian F1 GP Review

Posted 5 years ago in Miscellaneous News, Other

Inaugural race goes well, with interesting track and great facilities…

Amid the deafening roar of high-revving engines and an incredibly excited crowd, India arrived on the Formula 1 circuit in style this weekend.

Sebastian Vettel proved he really is unbeatable by storming to his 13th Pole Position this season, translating it into his 11th victory. But the real story this weekend was the track itself. For months the track looked as if it would never be ready – the track was barely dried when the FIA inspected teh grounds. Many believed the race simply wouldn’t go ahead – too many beurocratic obstacles lay ahead and as yet more stories of corruption and taxation issues arose, the future of the Indian GP looked doubtful.

Fast foward to the last weekend in October though, and we are standing among pristine grandstands, an immaculate (if dusty) track and there is the immense buzz of F1 everywhere. Every mall has an F1 car from one manufacturer or another, every billboard an F1 driver’s face. F1 fever has certainly gripped Delhi.

Power outage in a press conference on Thursday earned negative points for the hosts, as did the backed-up drains int he press quarters. A day later, when two dogs entered the circuit and the free practice session had to be stopped, eyebrows were raised. But these were just a few glitches that were easily ironed out. Less easy were the issues with tickets – many turning up to their Rs35,000 (c.£500) seats in the grandstand found someone sitting in their seat with an equally-valid ticket, a victim of fraudulent ticket sales. Luckily many of the corporate seats were left untaken so everyone got a seat eventually.

The main surprise for everyone came in the form of the 5km ribbon of tarmac at Buddh International Circuit. All the drivers praised the track, some claiming it to be their favourite track of the season. There are many elevation changes on the track which make for some very interesting racing, with Jenson Button leading the praise saying “It’s one of the circuits which definitely gets a big tick. I’m looking forward to coming back. The Indian people have welcomed us, I’ve never seen so many people smiling before. The crowd have been wonderful.”

Force India team principal Vijay Mallya has championed an event in India since he first brought an F1 car over to the country in the 1980s. Three decades on, this weekend’s landmark event marks the fulfilment of a dream. “It was like a dream come true,” enthused Mallya. “If I was not glued to what was happening, I might have shed a tear or two out of pride and joy. I’m a relieved man. Racing is in my blood and putting an Indian team on the grid was a huge moment.”

Ex-F1 driver and racing commentator Martin Brundle enthused “I’ll be sad to leave India. For me it’s been very enjoyable and a great success for Indian motorsport and Formula 1. There is a lot of poverty downtown. We can’t change that but a facility like this can be a springboard. Year two and year three will be interesting, though. How many of the cricket and Bollywood stars will be on the grid then? Our following has come on leaps and bounds and this race will be a huge boost for Formula 1 in India.”

Unfortunately the racing itself didn’t quite live up to the promise. The drivers may have enjoyed the fast turns, undulating track and tight corners, but the amount of dust off-line meant that anyone attempting risky overtaking moves would have to be either very brave or very stupid. As a result the action on-track wasn’t too enthralling.

In the end Vettel led all 60 laps, with Michael Schumacher making the biggest position leap from 11th place in qualifying to a 5th place on race day. Alonso and Webber battled quite closely for 3rd and 4th, with Alonso finally getting the final spot on the podium.

Full race results:

Pos No Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Pts
1 1 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 60 1:30:35.002 1 25
2 4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 60 +8.4 secs 4 18
3 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 60 +24.3 secs 3 15
4 2 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 60 +25.5 secs 2 12
5 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 60 +65.4 secs 11 10
6 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 60 +66.8 secs 7 8
7 3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 60 +84.1 secs 5 6
8 19 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 59 +1 Lap 10 4
9 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 59 +1 Lap 8 2
10 17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 59 +1 Lap 20 1
11 10 Vitaly Petrov Renault 59 +1 Lap 16
12 9 Bruno Senna Renault 59 +1 Lap 14
13 15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 59 +1 Lap 12
14 20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 58 +2 Laps 18
15 11 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 58 +2 Laps 15
16 25 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 57 +3 Laps 21
17 22 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 57 +3 Laps 23
18 23 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 57 +3 Laps 22
19 21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 55 +5 Laps 19
Ret 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 32 Suspension 6
Ret 18 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 24 Technical 9
Ret 12 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 12 Gearbox 13
Ret 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 2 Accident damage 24
Ret 16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 0 Accident damage 17

We can’t wait to see what the Buddh International Circuit holds in store for F1 next year.

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  1. Yozse says:

    What i see happening is a culpoe things. As was stated by a few by now is that the timers are out of synch. However there is a throw away lap on lap 2. If you look in the first vertical grid sector near the end of it, the driver missed a down shift, which bogged the engine in that turn, and didn’t allow enough drive off the corner thus putting the entire rest of the lap behind. That’s what I see, looking past the time abnormality in the timer. So while I had one of the team engineers re-calibrating the GPS, I’d be going over with the driver what happened to cause that missed shift in turn looks to be turn 1 to me.

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