The Countdown: TWO months and counting…
First of all, let us take a look at the situation as far as the drivers and teams are concerned. Sebastian Vettel has all but won the title. I will not try to make it sound interesting anymore- because it is not. He has stormed through this season without so much as a retirement, and there is no looking back. Red Bull are clearly dominant, and the weekend at Spa only solidified their monopoly. The mere mortals have been left to fight it out- and as much as I love writing Webber off time and again, Red Bull gives him wings. Truly.
The beleaguered Brits at the Mclaren garage, as well as a holding-onto-straws Alonso have been now left to fight it out for the final podium position. And as the Joker (Vettel) would say, ‘Tryouts. Make it quick.’
In what seems to be the only bright spot as far as racing competitiveness is concerned, Michael Schumacher- that old warhorse- turned back the clock and has begun to show signs of intermittent life- even if single-celled. Finally. It would be safe to say that a majority of the fans at the Buddh International Circuit on Oct 28th-Oct 30th will have grown up watching Schumacher convert F1 into a one-team sport. Needless to say, we’re all fans- it was the safest thing to do. No heartbreak, no possibility of ridicule. He was the face and symbol of FormulaOne, and Ferrari the be-all-and-end-all of World Sport. Until he retired. And until he came back.
Expect nothing different
A month closer to the BIG one, we have decided to familiarize all of you (ticket-holders or not) with India’s first Grand Prix- the circuit, the seats, the vantage points, the spectacle and the experience:
16 corners, the second fastest circuit on the calendar (already, believe it or not- this happens only in India), an average speed of 210 kms/hr, a length of 5.14 kms and a strait that could see a high speed of 318 km/hr. The capacity is phenomenal- and could hold upto 2 lakh keen spectators (hopefully). That is the Buddh International Circuit at Greater Noida, UP in a nutshell.
As you may all have been aware, the tickets have gone on sale successfully on our website last week. The response is overwhelming- and unless there is an event of Anna-eismic proportions, one sees this event to be India’s biggest this year (taking into consideration the current state of our cricket team).
Premium Stand South, indeed
The seating at an F1 venue remain a massive factor as far as the entire experience goes:
If you are spectators that get an inexplicable kick out of sheer speed and high chances of mortality, then the Classic Stand North and the Star stand 1 East (between turns 3 and 4) is the place for you. Of course, you will see nothing but an extended blur- at the longest strait of this circuit which will definitely see top speeds of 315 km/hr (unless you’re a Virgin…fan). Value for money: 6500-8500? Maybe not. I’d rather watch a horse race past at Mahalakshmi course at acceptable speeds. A better view of the cars dancing with death on this strait would be from the-
Picnic STAND NORTH (sector 1- maximum view) or the STAR STAND 2 EAST (at a hairpin). Same price, better vantage point. More importantly, the cars remain in view for a longer period.
The other high-speed straits lie diagonally opposite to eachother- with star stand 3 and classic stand 1 on the EAST, and the mother of all areas: The GRANDSTAND and the Premium Stand NORTH on the WEST. While the Grandstand might see the who’s who of the Indian Glambrigade and bigwigs (thanks to the 35k price tag), the other stands mentioned here are a safer bet and let us in on an equal amount of action- ONLY if you’re not desperate to watch the green lights go off (in Slater’s words)
Ironically, the South stands (Picnic and Natural) might see the maximum amount of overtaking and even action- due to the massive hairpin at between turns 10 and 11. The cheapest tickets in the house, maybe, but the Premium Stand South is the place to be if you’re a purist (12.5k looks expensive- but could be well worth it). The cars will be at their slowest (and hence, the driver skills and mechanical procedures at the highest), and there is a large scope for race-altering events to occur here. Also, try wearing metallic Armor and dress up as a Knight- because shrapnel and Shreds are bound to fly. Put in a darker manner, make sure your insurance procedures are upto date if you decide to sit here. If you’re lucky, you might even find Lewis Hamilton sitting in your lap after he crashes and burns once again. If you’re a cricket fan, you are allowed to rip the Brit up to shreds. I understand your situation.
The classic stands at the West (1 and 2) probably have the best view in the house- for they might be able to catch a glimpse of the race lights go off, and also watch the best moments over the qualifying weekend just when the cars approach the finish line at desperate speeds- racing against nothing but a clock.
(Twisted) Bone of Contention
So that’s that, then. Seats are still available, and are going fast. Don’t let this one go- even if you already have a confirmed World Champion (double) racing by then. It will be anything but boring- simply because this is alien territory to every single driver at the grid. Watch them get a feel of conditions (and hopefully wreck their cars) over the practice and qualifying sessions- and then watch them fly inches off the ground and shatter your eardrums as they whizz past you in a flame of red, blue, yellow and green. If you’re a Force India fan, though, do not carry your flags. Because Sid Mallya’s white/pink/skin-colored pants will negate anything you ever carry.