Indian GP track designers seek team input
Constructors of the new Indian Grand Prix circuit have turned to the Formula One teams for advice on the building of the track as they target a slot towards the end of next season's calendar.
The facility on the outskirts of New Delhi is in the early stages of development, with the hope it will be completed in just under a year's time.
The developers have at least adopted a sensible policy of sounding out the teams before plowing ahead with the circuit as they look at ensuring excitement and its success.
Mark Hughes, vice president of constructors JPSK Sports, said: "We have worked very closely with Hermann Tilke who came up with the initial design.
"We have also shared the design with some of the Formula One teams to put it into their simulators.
"They have come back with some recommendations on how to modify it to make it a little more exciting. We have come up with a formula to build it."
Hughes has revealed 4million cubic tons of earth have already been moved to provide undulation, adding: "I think the drivers are going to find it a good challenge.
"The track is quite unique, and hopefully the drivers and teams will not complain as they have given their own input.
"It was a good opportunity, as we were in the early stages of construction, so we were able to do that.
"Tilke has quite a good relationship with the teams, but I don't think that as a promoter and venue owner this has been done before.
"I have been lucky to have worked in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi before, so I have a good relationship with the teams myself.
"I was able to go to some of them and ask them if they are able to give their input and the feedback has been invaluable."
As to completion, Hughes said: "We will probably be ready by the end of July next year for the FIA to do the homologation.
"The plan is to have a race at the end of next season, but we will see where it actually fits in the calendar."
Hughes is anticipating a sell-out for the inaugural event, with the likelihood of a crowd in excess of 120,000.
But, as he admits "a lot of people in India haven't seen a Formula One car", the mass Indian market will need to learn how the sport works.
"As it is the first race in India we have to go through an education process for the spectators and the ticket buyers," said Hughes.
"We also need to explain how a race weekend works. They may have seen qualifying and a race on TV, but they have not yet appreciated it's a three-day live event with support races.
"They don't know that they can come and buy merchandise and memorabilia.
"It's not like going to an IPL (Indian Premier League) cricket match that lasts for two hours. It is a three-day festival." Sporting Life