Friday, 15 June 2007

F1 set to wroom into India !!!

Come October 2009, and we the Indian F1 fans could savour the sight of the mean machines blazing the proposed Indian track. But wait a moment, are we getting too excited? And are we overlooking the way projects of this kind are executed in India?

Well, to make sense for the uninitiated, yours truly would now like to elaborate on all this :) !

Every year the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile), the sport’s governing body organizes a series of top notch racing events, called a Formula One Race, on picturesque venues around the world. Formula One (abbreviated as F1) is the highest class (and most exciting also) of auto racing as defined by the FIA. A typical season of these races in an year includes about 17 races, though sometimes it can go up to 19 also as was the case with the 2005 season. Each race in a season is spread over a weekend and it includes Practice sessions, Qualifying sessions and the biggest of them all – the Race Day.

Ok, so with this background knowledge in mind we can now throw some light on what the fuss is all about. Well a guy called Bernie Ecclestone, who has majority control over the F1 commercial rights (in other words he is the boss!), has shown interest in allowing India to stage an F1 race, most probably in Delhi. The Indian Olympic Association has been given the task to get the required clearances from the various government bodies involved (it’s India no) and also build up the fund required to finance an event of this stature. Well these two are the bottlenecks. Firstly the government agencies – you can’t keep all of them happy and this impedes the process. Secondly, the amount of money involved is no child’s play especially for a growing economy like India. Experts are of the opinion that India will need to pump in money to the tune of 450 crores (45 followed by 8 zeroes …!) for just the track!!! Add to this the supporting infrastructure namely proximity to ultra luxurious hotels, an international airport which can handle about 7-10 jumbos like the 737s and the Antonovs (Have a look at this giant baby here) simultaneously. All this would add to a whopping 1500 crores (You can buy 300 million KFC burgers with that amount)!!!

I presume that explains the apprehensions. Will we be able to match Bernie’s expectations ? Well, the deadline he has set is September 30, by when the IOA has to sign the contract after providing the financial guarantees and till then all an Indian F1 fan can do is keep the fingers crossed and enjoy F1 telecast live on TV !