So here’s the deal: Sebastian Vettel is 2011 World Champion. He will be racing before our eyes- along with four former World Champions: Button, Hamilton, Alonso and Schumacher. Red Bull Renault have already snapped up the Constructor’s Championship. Everything has been sealed, except second, third and fourth place- which should be fun, considering the fact that most Indian cricket fans have vast experience in accepting the ‘best of the rest’ tag.
The Buddh International Circuit is ready to go. Initial testing and supervision throws light on the vast possibility of this event not reaching "Kalmadisque" levels of incompetency. On the contrary, to be brutally honest, the track is as much as an eye-pleaser as Shanghai and Singapore is. All that’s left to do is stage an actual race, and Indian motorsport fans will be set for another few years.
Before I list to you the factors that make this cosmic event ALMOST as big as a Ra.One premiere, let us take a few moments out and celebrate the lives of two drivers:
Dan Wheldon, former IndyCar 500 Champion, went down in an 11-car pileup last weekend at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, when his car burst into flames after smashing into the concrete barrier. The British driver was known as one of the nicest guys in the sport, and will sorely be missed. The race was immediately called off, and the following tribute was planned on the spot.
Marco Simoncelli, a future MotoGP Champion, died within four minutes of the Malaysian GP- when, in a cruel twist of fate, he lost his helmet as he skidded off the bike only to smash head-on into the bikes of Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards. The mercurial Italian was widely regarded as the much-needed color in the classic B&W world of MotoGP, with legend Rossi mentoring the 24 year old kid. The race was called off, and drivers all over the world took a few days off to reflect the chills accompanying the thrills of their profession.
On that somber note, we begin a celebration that encompasses the much-battered cliché showbiz line: The show must go on.
And it holds true. Now, more than ever.
If Monaco holds the biggest glam quotient in F1, one that admittedly can’t be matched in terms of class, riches and sophistication, India will hold the advantage as far as sheer star power and numbers are concerned:
-As we all know, Metallica will kick off the sporting weekend with a mini-concert, and none other than Lady Gaga will round things up in a post-race celebration performance- her first in India. Needless to say, there are separate passes required for these mega-events, and you know where to find them.
-One doesn’t expect Sachin Tendulkar, a big Schumi fan and friend, to miss this event for the world. Not even if he has his 100th century at stake. Sourav Ganguly, the brand ambassador for the re-branded Sahara Force India team will join him at the circuit.
-Needless to mention, Shahrukh Khan will make his presence felt, especially on the Mercedes cars- that will be sporting the Ra.One logo, along with their sponsors. There is nothing this man hasn’t done, and anybody who is still not aware of the magnum Opus releasing in a day- will duly be put behind bars for negligence of life. Then you expect his entourage that includes Rampal (holding a massive post party), John Abraham (Motorsport fan). Mukesh Ambani is another guy who has booked the corporate boxes, as expected.
-Rampal’s nightclub may be seeing the likes of Edward Maya, DJ Roger Sanchez and Gaga hosting consecutive parties over the weekend.
-Rahul Gandhi could make an appearance and duly blow away all his credentials and hard-earned reputation, considering his stand on land-acquisition acts in UP (Noida).
-The F1 girlfriends, namely Jessica Michibata (Button’s better half) will be there, fingers crossed, considering the tragic motorsport occurances over the past few weeks. Sadly, Pussycat doll Nicole Scherzinger will not be present after her breakup with the wild child of F1 Hamilton.
-Then there’s the Indian F1 flag-bearers like Chandok, Karthikeyan and Armaan Ebrahim, who will make their presence felt, in one way or the other.
-Of course, the entire F1 brigade including Chief Bernie Ecclestone and his glamorous daughter Tamara are expected to rule the pitlanes.
-Expect Mallya and company to swim in champagne and tears, before or after the race.
Other than the mentioned names, there are, for sure, a million other last-minute plans that include Ra.One-Diwali-F.One-Work made by celebrities big and small all over the country.
There is, for once, no better spectacle to be part of, during the country’s most festive season, with the speediest rockets waiting for those five red lights to go off.