F1 Racing: THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS

Welcome to the Greatest (Longest) and most spectacular sports season on Earth: The barely-legal show where adrenalin junkies get their bi-monthly doses (read fix) of deathly speed and slick rides simply by a click of a button (no pun intended). Or two- depending on the make of your television system.

Contrary to various sacrilegious thoughts that come to mind on reading the above lines (and hence, popular belief)- we refer not to Saurav Ganguly’s training routine or Sania Mirza’s off-court ability but to the ultimate death-defying acts of human recklessness that take place upto 20 times a year. No, not the Pakistan cricket team either.

Welcome to the Formula One Season of 2011:

The ultimate display of speed, aerodynamics, mechanics, engineering, strategy, skill, fitness and pit-babes (or so they are called). Yes- there is interest even for an aspiring Indian doctor or engineer being gently prodded by his/her parents towards success and eventual depression. Kids, do not try this at home.

F1
   Psst! Don’t you wish your teammate was hot like me?

We may already be 7 races into the season, but the bigger picture is truly starting to take form only now. Like every other sport, it takes a bit of time (read a couple of races- a few months) to decipher the form guide and blatant ability of most teams and drivers.

To begin with:

After a storming and unusual comeback that marked the beginning of a new era in F1 German domination, Sebastian Vettel (defending champion and future chamption) of the Red Bull Racing team looks to have cut out any sort of possibility of fate or even bad luck denying him any more glory (unlike the 2010 season- where he was clearly the strongest, but had reliability issues with himself)

As a result, he has acquired pole position in qualifying in 6 out of the 7 races so far- and of course, won five of them. Much like his idol- the face of Formula One and the most popular name after Sreesanth in India: Michael Schumacher.

F1
   It’s NOI-DA. Yes, NOI. DA. Got it? Now, want a piece of me?

Oddly enough, Schumi (as he is loving called amongst wannabe F1 enthusiasts) is still racing. And not surprisingly, he is not enjoying a Sachin Tendulkar-style second or third wind. In fact, well into his second season after the most hyped comeback in sport after Saurav Ganguly’s fifth and final comeback, Schumi has had to endure the embarrassment of being firmly lodged mid-table for most races. Yes, he is now one of those drivers who are always there- just to make up the numbers. However much we would like to romanticize things and hope for atleast a podium position against the run of play, one does not see it happening anytime soon. Joining a World Champion Team like Mercedes immediately after their record breaking season (2009) may have seemed as sensible as supporting Roger Federer AFTER he wins his 16 titles. Sadly for Schumi, that is where Mercedes decided to play catch-up and stop defying conventional racing rules.

Moving onto Relevant news:

While Lewis Hamilton is busy contemplating his racing future after every second race- in between called for disciplinary hearings after rash desperate attempts and non-British behavior on the track- Jenson Button has pulled off the win of this decade already. The lucky folks of Montreal who decided to stay back after the two-hour rain delay during the ongoing race were treated to a spectacle not seen since the days of Damon Hill and Mika Hakkinen. Overtaking on the last lap- seriously? We thought that happened only in competitive PS3 games- or MotoGP.

Not only has Button recovered some kind of respectability to the overhyped McLaren Mercedes setup, but he has also laid down the gauntlet for the remainder of this unpredictable and Global Warmed season. 

To suggest that 2011 is a two-horse race (or even a horse race, for that matter) will be a wildly diplomatic attempt at garnering more attention towards the competitiveness of this one-sided season. With 2010 easily being the closest racing season in the Post-Schumacher era (er, sorry), this year has still seen some of the most exciting races at the most unusual venues. First it was the Monaco Grand Prix, where excitement is normally restricted to the visual pleasure associated with the ridiculous slimness of the road-track (or the sunbathing ‘rich people’ on their yachts at the dock)- and then it was Montreal.

Even the weather Gods have decided to make things a little tougher for young Vettel, and they insist on taking things down right to the newly-positioned LAST race of the season:  (still tentative)

F1
   Man Down  

The Inaugural Indian Grand Prix- also known as the Buddh International Circuit. (forget terms like Noida and Dilli for now). So it may have been pushed back from the fertile October to a cold December-and by law of averages, we cannot possibly have another heart-stopping close race to the finish, but a RACE is a RACE is a F1 Race. In India. Never thought we’d see the day. Even the errant cows have been flown to Mumbai- from the looks of it. Tickets? What? (hint: current website *wink*)

After all, a lot of deprived F1 fans in India wouldn’t want the race to be a *shudder* dead rubber where Vettel and Alonso decide to ‘rest’ in preparation for next season.

Sorry, that happens only in a predominantly Asian sport (smug expression) called Cricket. Every Formula One race is a logistics nightmare, and a miraculous combination of science and magic co-existing hand-in-hand to give rise to jet-propelled blurs that form the crux of most red-blooded fuel-induced wet dreams and West-inspired conversation starters like, ‘Which car, do you think, has the most effective KERS and Suspension this year, mate?’

And as much as the Americans would beg to differ- what with their Hollywood version of the precision-powered sport called Indy 500- Formula One takes world spectators and competitors alike to unchartered levels of insufferable highs and lows- previously associated with Astronouts and Space Shuttles. It is only a matter of time before the much-important tyres are pushed aside, and the mechanical masterpieces begin to resemble hovercrafts. The Sound Barrier might probably be used as a qualifying criterion then- and Vijay Mallya will be cheering for the newly-named Royal Challengers for the races, and the newly-named Force India team on the cricket field. There might be hope.

With 12 races to go, Bridgestone tyres a thing of the past (replaced by Pirelli), the controversial KERS units back in play and the Bahrain GP yet to be officially scrapped, it promises to be an action-packed season that might finally see the most-talked-about rivalry in recent times come to the fore:

Will Narain Karthikeyan manage to pip Michael Schumacher in the Drivers Standings with a late surge towards the end of the season? Only time will tell.

Will Ferrari ever return to their heydeys? Will Fernando Alonso ever display a smile (or anything but a frown)? Will Barrichello ever retire? Will Red Bull ever finish outside the top two? Will the real dates for the Indian GP ever be revealed? Will Bahrain stop playing spoilsport? Or will Force India EVER live upto the initial ‘promise’ and progress with a couple of unlikely strategic podium finishes?

Or finally, will Red Bull’s Mark Webber stop playing a loyal Barrichello to Vettel’s Schumi and resort to booby-trapping the German’s dressing room with the help of some errant and dodgy soap bars?

Stay tuned.
Next up: The European Grand Prix (Valencia). A subtle message there- that Spain now stands for Europe sportswise. And rightfully so.

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9 Comments

  1. Alex Jefferies

    June 15, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    This is just not a good writing, I’m sorry! I’m not Indian but live in India but you speak and threw words like you are not Indian. Where is the support and optimism to Indian Grand Prix? It’s either you have no idea what you are talking about or you just want to sound like western! The people who initiated the track in Noida are to be commended for their initiative to putting India on the map of F1 or in the world. Like criket it gives India more reason to be part of a conversation outside India having F1 in the country! Where else you could think of having the track in India? Delhi? please, Mumbai? c’mon! You should be thankful that company like Jaypee will be having it in Noida, you should be ashame saying “Forget about terms like NOIDA”!
    So what if Formula one is known to be sports for rich and famous? You should be proud then, because having that reputation you or India believed to be in that status otherwise they will not have F1 here this October! Lastly, please watch the race seconds by seconds and know the drivers before writing something like this, never blink your eye because the moment you do……. you’ll be off the track and hitting the barriers!!

    • Tallin

      June 21, 2011 at 10:01 pm

      Home run! Great slugging with that awnser!

    • Yo mAn!

      August 20, 2011 at 11:52 am

      Yo mAn! you screwed that bitcha bitcha!

      Some ppl r totally uneducated in F1 & act like they Gods of F1 r somethin..

      U r rite. We are very proud to have F1 in our country & that’s it for now.

      PS: Don’t underestimate Indians though, we can have an F1 track anywhere in the country!

  2. Rahul Desai

    June 15, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Thanks for your opinion, Alex. Your points are duly noted, but you will do well to notice the tone of most sports-related blog posts here (including cricket).
    Many sports websites are to the point and accurate about everything they cover- and its a serious business. We are just trying to present a slightly lesser complicated scenario in a lighter manner: even if it is satirical and sarcastic- it might be a good change from the hardcore coverage. I do not claim to know everything about the sport, and the FIA website produces great content for anyone interested in second-by-second hardcore analysis.
    As far as promoting the sport in India is concerned, it is precisely why the blog posts are being written- and a bit of subtlety always helps. Everyone is excited about it- and there is no point repeating the obvious. This is just another light take on sports issues.

    Thank you for reading, and I do understand your point of view. But there is a different audience for every style of writing- even you might agree.

    Rahul

  3. Prashant

    June 15, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Beee cool and relaxxx

  4. monal

    June 15, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    methinks our good friend alex misses the point

  5. Noel Marcon Arellano

    June 18, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    I’m not an Indian but i’ve been here for 6yrs. There is always a +/- side of an article. It can also be perceived by the reader in a different way. Remember, we can not please all people at the same time. I dont follow F1 that much but i’m so excited for the race in NOIDA! Me and my friends are waiting for the ticket sale!

    What’s wrong with NOIDA? Nothing! I live in NOIDA and I work very near to the proposed race track in Greater Noida. I take lunch in Jaypee Greens, etc. etc. Let’s just focus our comparison with in India. NOIDA is a place where city planning is “being” done. Airport (proposed), roads, etc are being considered unlike other cities in India. Again, dont compare with other international cities. For me, the location is “ok”. Where else do you think is the better place?

  6. Naozer Aga

    June 18, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    When can I purchase the F1 RACE TICKETS at the Buddh circuit? Have the race dates been finalised.

  7. Dr Ghanshyam

    September 5, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    hi
    was really excited for this race. i was looking forward to book my tickets on first day only. but disappointed u guys has not opened upon the premium stand north at turn-1. i asked on your phone call support service, which they dont know what i am asking and then dont have satisfying answer for it. really feel handling of this event will be indianized…..like favouritism and blocking good spots for preferred peoples. it u guys are truly ready to serve your customers…then please be transparent and write down on your website, why u are not selling this stand.. true race lovers will like seat at good corners..i am prefering this stand becoz i m going to come with my two kids for them covered stand will be better, i want my kids to watch this historical moment for indian F1. i really dont know whom to contact, thats why i m posting this on this blog..if any one from “book my show” or Jaypee sports listening please answer.

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