Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Adrenaline Rush - We’re Boycotting the First Indian F1 Grand Prix Event

As India gears up for hosting its maiden Indian F1 Grand Prix, three key people who should have made it for the event, eventually decided to boycott it for its first year.

But haven’t Sachin Tendulkar, Shahrukh Khan, Arjun Rampal, Deepika Padokone and like all said yes? They may have, but we haven’t. And we truly consider ourselves as are ardent F1 fans and devote fans for Michael Schumacher and Ferrari. Oh yes, we love Fernando Alonso, SebastianVettel, Red Bull Racing and are very fond of  Force India F1, Rubens Barrichello, Felipe Massa and Mark Webber too!

Passion for F1 dates back long enough for us, so much so that even our initials spell out as CAR – Charan, Ashish and Rohit (yours truly)! We didn’t make money when we were delirious about the sport but even today, our passions run high enough for us to have travelled to the Singapore Street Circuit, F1’s only night race and Sepang, Kuala Lumpur. And we’re just ordinary hard working men with simple day jobs!

CAR and their leap of Joy at Sepang, 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix. For more photos on the Malaysian Grand Prix, click here.

Schumacher made his return last year, and almost the year before that, and the one thing we rued the most was not having seeing the legend drive in person. Today for us, it is been there done that; one step further is that we’ve met the legend! That’s our adrenaline rush, that’s our passion. 

 Autograph signing at the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix. For more photos of Malaysia, click here.

And so, now that we’re in a classified but sadly unknown league above the who’s who and like, we bloody well have good reasons to skip the big daddy of all events.
  • It happens only in India – We’re Indian to the core no matter how badly our government treats us and how corrupt it might be. And even though this is a private event, we’re known to have sweaty palms and cold feet for any major event. Dare I say it, but some disaster/embarrassment/fiasco is waiting to happen. The track was just about homogenised (approved) and ticket sales, scheduled for March, only began sales late September. 
  • Event management - Having seen races before, we know for sure what treat and privileges fans get for an F1 event. Whether that would happen for the first Indian GP, we were not sure. And then we didn’t typically want to throw our unknown weight around trying to complain and advice how the show ought to be run. 
  • Traffic Management – Singapore was excellent but we had our fair bit of problems on our way back from Sepang, Malaysia, who are 10+ years strong hosting F1 races, when we took an hour longer than what we should have. I can’t even imagine how our pot-bellied gutkha chewing and pan spitting traffic cops would have run the traffic. 
  • Pricing – Rail/Air tickets, Race tickets, stay and food. Watching an F1 race is by no means a cheap and convenient affair like cricket might be. As the first ever event, the organisers have set the ticket pricing a little too steep instead of having promoting it. Being festivity times, train tickets were long gone, and that’s talking within 10 minutes on the opening day (90 days prior when we thought of going simply because Metallica were coming too) and the airfare is beyond reach. The city would no doubt be over crowded and stay wouldn’t come cheap either. Trust me when I say this – KL and Singapore worked out cheaper for us from Mumbai. 
  • No Event Calendar – An integral part of any F1 race are the associated events. As fans, you also get to watch a few other races (Formula 2/3, Porsche/BMW series), air shows, take pit lane walks, go for autograph signing and much more.  None of this was listed on the official Web site, and didn’t make it even until early this week. Few of the above may not even happen; disappointing! 
  • F1 Rocks – F1 is not just about the racing. Glamour has been an integral part to which music events like F1 rocks have been added. And these are part of the ticket price, where we managed to watch Shakira, Back Street Boys and likes. Metallica lured us and the only reason why we decided to go; but that was separate? Worse, the race is in Greater Nodia and the performance in Gurgaon? How on earth does that qualify as F1 Rocks? And let me not go to the money raking events like LAP, the after hours party with Lady Gaga, Roger Sanchez and many more international artists. 
  • It’s the First – We love to brag and who better than the capital city; and so what if we don’t know what F1 is? I’m a VIP in Delhi (which every second person happens to be in the capital city) so I am going to get my contacts going and ensure that I’m there at the first ever Indian car racing thing or whatever that is; yeah the one that has Fraaree shraaree! And then – ‘Oye sale nu overtake karna bhi nahi aanda’ (the guy doesn’t even know how to overtake). VIPs, VVIPs, celebrities, their entourage cum dummies guide and their security. Thank you; we’re better off home. 
  • A Virgin Track – The Greater Nodia tack, Buddh International Circuit is a fantastic track that’s going to be great for drivers and fans. But is it really ready yet for an F1 race? 
 Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull Racing F1 car at Sepang, 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix. For more photos, on the Red Bull Racing team, click here.

Having said all that did we still feel that we are missing the event? Yes! We still wanted to be there and almost made a last minute impulsive dash as well. But in practicality, are we missing the event, probably not, because we’re having the last laugh/glad that we boycotted the event. 
  • Friday practice started with a show down between Lewis Hamilton and a dog!
  • The track surroundings still look far from being ready; I wonder if Bernie Ecclestone would have okayed had it not been India.
  • The track lacked grip, which was expected, but the amount of dust around it is just not acceptable; classic example was turn 5 and turn 7 that saw additional kerb being deployed and Massa eventually breaking his suspension going around it.
  • The evident vibrations on the long straight after turn 4; I hope all cars endure it for 60 continuous laps.
  • Lights out – Nodia faced a major power cut on Thursday which affected the media centre and pit garages. You’re saying they did not have adequate power backup?
  • You’re now getting a 60% discount on F1 tickets. Good morning organisers!
  • F1 Rocks or should I say sucks? Metallica’s live showdown in Gurgaon; need I say any more?
And the race hasn’t even begun!
At the end though, no matter what, today, 30th October 2011, will go down as an eventful day in the history of Indian sports or any Indian event for that matter. I just hope that it is not for ALL the wrong reasons.

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  1. Hi Rohit,

    I being the none F1 fan the post was quite gripping and very insightful!

    I like reading your post!

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Do you remember what was the state of affairs before CWG. We are Indians, if these things will not happen in India, where else they will happen then? I hope we are not deprived of CAR in the next F1...

  3. Hmmm coming from a true blue fan....I have no clue about F1 or the track or the cars...but I do hope you cover next red bull event....*fingers crossed*

  4. @chuchu - tx for taking time off n reading a topic tat doesnt interest u otherwise :)

    @saru - hehehe...indeed! n yes CAR shall be! how will the race take place with CAR LOL :D

    @chintan - thanks so much! uve been very encouraging on this :)


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