|Sebastien Buemi, in Noida, on Wednesday
New Delhi: Its that time of the year when the country regales itself with the festival of lights — Diwali. But for many, who take a keen interest in motorsports, it will be a festival of speed as well this time. With the Indian Grand Prix just days away, celebration of speed is set to take the country for a joyride.
The Formula One drivers will only turn a wheel for the first time at the BIC on Friday morning. But although those practice laps will mark the beginning of a fresh learning process, the teams and drivers will not be starting from zero when they actually take to the track.
Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi, who competes for Scuderia Toro Rosso, had a good look of the track on Wednesday and was impressed by the newly built circuit. Minutes after he returned from the BIC, Buemi said: The circuit seems to be quick and nice but it still looks a bit dirty.
Drivers will get two chances per lap to use Drag Reduction System (DRS) in Sundays race, the FIA has confirmed. It follows the use of two zones as in the Canadian, European and Italian races, which were held earlier in the year.
Like Monza, the all-new Buddh International Circuit will have independent detection points for each of its two zones — unlike Montreal and Valencia where both zones shared one detection point.
The undulating, 5.14 kilometre (3.19 miles) track is known to most drivers only through their hitech simulators but it is expected to be challenging with top speeds of around 330 kilometres per hour.
Like Buemi, the Team Lotus also felt the arena was not yet fully ready. They received their report through their Indian test d iver Karun Chandhok, who, on Tuesday, was not selected as one of the race drivers. Chandhok, however, cycled around the track several times to have a feel of it before Fridays practice session.
Last minute preparations taking place in the paddock, tweeted Team Lotus. Karun Chandhok had cycled around the circuit and reports it is getting quick, Lotus added.
Diwali mood dominates this part of the country at this time of the year. And it wouldnt be a hyperbole to say that some of the drivers, too, are in a holiday mood as they relaxed in their respective hotels throughout the day. Jenson Button, the 2009 world champion, had nothing to say on the track but was impressed by Indian food.
I spend the last couple of days in New Delhi training, chilling and eating... And I must say the food here is amazing, commented the McLaren driver.
According to sources, the star Red Bull drivers — Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were scheduled to arrive late Wednesday night and would have a look at the track later.
Vettel may have already wrapped up back-to-back titles, but the German still has statistical incentives in the remaining three races of the season: he can equal Michael Schumachers record of 13 wins in a season if he takes all three, and he needs two more pole positions to equal the single-season record of 14 set by Nigel Mansell in 1992.
I care about the sport, I know its history and the numbers according to the drivers, Vettel said. I like to see the name from time to time somewhere, but I dont set myself targets about the number of wins. Im not racing for statistics, he said.
True. But the eagerly-waiting Formula One fans of India are already in the hotseat, ready to enjoy the race.