It’s Thursday, and we are nearing one of the biggest weekends of sporting history in India. Yes, it is the second edition of the Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit this Sunday. So, get ready to experience a high speed extravaganza as cars and drivers compete on one of the fastest and trickiest circuits in the world. Let’s now take a look into what we have in store.
As always, every race weekend comprises of 3 days of events starting on Friday. After some initial testing and familiarization of the race track on Wednesday and Thursday, teams take part in the practice sessions and this is where they get to know what their strengths and weaknesses are, compared to the other teams. The two Friday practice sessions are one hour each. Drivers get to post lap times while working on different scenarios with the car in the aim of getting it to suit the track, best.
On Saturday, there is another practice session in the morning before the very exciting Qualifying session in the afternoon. The Qualifying session is divided into three intervals, Q1, Q2 and Q3. Q1 lasts for 20 minutes and all the 24 drivers take part in this session. By the end of Q1, the last 7 drivers on the time sheet are eliminated. The remaining 17 drivers compete in Q2 which is 15 minutes long and post lap times. Again 7 drivers are eliminated by the end of this session.
Q3 has 10 drivers taking part in a 10 minute mad dash and this is where all the excitement builds up. The drivers are classified according to their lap times in this session and are given starting positions on the grid for the race on Sunday. Does the position on the grid really matter? Yes, it surely does. If you are still not sure, watch the race. Of course, there are penalties in the form of grid position for the drivers if they make any changes in their car prior to the session. Cometh Sunday, the big event takes the center stage much to the delight of the F1 fans who will be raring to catch a glimpse of the spectacle. So, that’s how an F1 weekend pans out. Now let’s look at our very own Buddh F1 race track.
Designed by the famous Herman Tilke, this circuit boasts some of the most intriguing challenges to the drivers. The 5.14 km circuit has 16 corners and the longest straight in F1 spanning a massive 1.06km. It has drawn comparisons to the legendary track, Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. There are some extreme elevation gradients which force very high G-levels on the drivers. The 14m rise from turn 1 upto the unusually wide turn 3 explains this. The downward hill after the apex at turn 4 and a series of smooth flowing corners thereafter provide the drivers with an opportunity to go flatout. Turns 11, 12, 13 and 14 are the most interesting as that is the place where most of the overtaking takes place.
Last year, Sebastian Vettel won the grand prix after starting from pole. His maiden Indian experience in his words, “I loved the track layout last year, but not just because I won the race. With an average speed of 235 km/h, the course is the second quickest of the year after Monza. There is a lot of elevation change around the lap which adds to the fun, from as much as 8 percent downhill and up to 10 percent uphill; it’s like a roller coaster! It really has emerged as one of the most challenging circuits on the calendar for the drivers.”
This time around, it will be the last time Indian fans will get to watch Michael Schumacher on a racetrack, as the German has announced retirement at the end of this season. He surely will be the ceter of attraction for the Indian F1 fans. The TV commercial of Airtel partnering with Mercedes team and publicizing the IndianGP has surely had an impact and will hopefully draw more attention to the sport from the people of a cricket-frenzy nation.
The organizers of this colossal event, The Jaypee Sports group, have made tremendous strides to enrich the fan experience. Last year they had Lady Gaga perform in the post-race concert. This time it is Mexican rock guitarist Santana, who will be performing at the F1 Rocks event at the Galgotias University Campus One on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 05:00 PM. A mix of international DJs and entertainers from the famous Cirque du Soleil club are set to rev up the action at Arjun Rampal’s official after-parties. Also, the actor-businessman is set to make his big debut behind the console.
For the folk who will be travelling to the race venue to watch it live, this map might come in handy. Have a great weekend and do post your F1 experience in our comments section.
For the ones who are watching it on TV in India, Star Sports will be covering the whole event with the lovely Paula Malai Ali and Steve Dawson in the studios along with Alex Yoong. Steve Slater and Karun Chandok as always will be the commentators and of course, analysts.
Friday on Star Sports: Practice 1 – 0955 hrs IST and Practice 2 – 1355 hrs IST
Saturday on Star Sports: Practice 3 – 1055 hrs IST and Qualifying – 1330 hrs IST
Sunday on Star Sports: Race Day - 1400 hrs IST, Main Race – 1445 hrs IST and Chequered Flag – 1645 hrs IST
Published with permission from The Rational Pie.