India was such a poor place for F1: Hamilton questions places with no F1 legacy, traces!
- Lewis Hamilton feels that F1 should only expand to territories that have a connection or history with the sport. Is he right?
Lewis Hamilton is a five-time world champion. He is among the greatest drivers ever, among the fastest men on the grid, and it may no longer be untrue to call him the anti-thesis to Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.
The way Hamilton made the 2018 season his own is the stuff of legends and worth applauding. Ten pole positions in a single season alone explain the man's talent. When you add to it the emphatic achievement of 9 Grand Prix wins, then you know you are talking about something really special.
But there is something Lewis Hamilton isn't exactly in great support of.
What is it? Do you have any clue?
Let's bring the cat out of the bag.
In their bid to popularise the sport, the Formula 1 contingent is planning to now expand to boundaries that had hitherto been unexplored and untraced. This, for instance, happened back in 2011 with the inaugural Indian Grand Prix, held consecutively from 2011-2013 in the Indian capital, New Delhi.
The Indian Grand Prix- eclipsed by Sebastian Vettel, then in Red Bull- was one of the keenly-followed contests of the time, a period of F1's history where cars ran on the powerful, zippy V8s.
And sadly, F1 and India parted ways with only two rounds of the Indian Grand Prix. The sport would never take to India again. Speaking his mind on this scenario, 2018 World Champion Lewis Hamilton believes that in the current scheme of things, Grand Prix racing should ideally only expand to countries that have a history or some kind of tryst with Formula 1.
It is important for the sport to galvanize followers whilst catering to an existing fan-base that's everywhere around the world. In this regard, Hamilton, who didn't really enjoy the Indian GP, has stated, "India was such a poor place for F1."
So, as a motor-sports fan, what is your take on Lewis Hamilton? How far do you agree with the Briton's take?
But since then, Formula 1 has expanded to newer territories. Take, for instance, the Russian Grand Prix.
The inaugural season of the Russian Grand Prix was way back in 1913. It would be held again in 1914, at a time when the bitter events of the First World War were about to strike Europe.
It is only after spending a century in the wilderness that the Formula 1 bandwagon would return to the Russian heartland, with Sochi hosting the much-followed 2014 Russian Grand Prix. Since then, one can see the keenness with which the contest is followed, although the race taking place on a track that's not exactly a fan-favourite.
In this light, Lewis Hamilton, who is of the view that, "If you had the Silverstone Grand Prix and a London Grand Prix, it would be pretty cool," perhaps makes sense.
Does he not?
But depending on who you are and what side of perspective do you hold close would you analyze Hamilton's remarks.
Can Hamilton be doubted now that one sees how despite such a gung-ho reception, the Indian Grand Prix fell flat on its face?
Here's a thought.
If you are a purist, someone who's grown up seeing the legends battle on sensational tracks, with F1 continuingly enjoying the support of the four main continents it caters to- Europe, North America, Asia, Latin America- you'd want the sport to grow in only these territories.
Why can't Formula 1 actually stick to these geographies, one would think.
But on the other hand, if you are a fan of the leading discourse of our times- Diversity+Inclusion- the leading template that defines much of what the world is about today, there may be sense in dabbling with territories where there might be a potential to grow, even if there's not a great deal of F1 history, in fact, none at all.
To that end, F1's intent to find a newer fan-base, by virtue of holding a Grand Prix at Vietnam (at Hanoi), seems to make sense. For starters, there's another destination being added in South East Asia, a shining beacon for the pinnacle of Grand Prix racing, with Japan and Singapore (in the absence of Sepang, Malaysia) already adding a lot of spectators to the sport. Then, there's a possibility of giving a rising economy- such as Vietnam- the prospect of witnessing the world's most enthralling and expensive sport.
But how well do these decisions eventually pan out is thankfully something that can only be decided by time and well, the authorities that run the sport. At some level, maybe, there's a great sense in bringing back forgotten or 'have-been' destinations or circuits on the roster- for instance, Kyalami in South Africa or Donnington Park in England!Published 14 Nov 2018, 15:30 IST