Formula 1 happened at last on October 30, 2011 at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) in NOIDA.
The event was awe-inspiring, not for the drivers, teams and entourages; more so for Formula 1 wannabes who flocked to grace the momentous occasion.
It made no difference to Sebastian Vettel; it was just another race to be won—which he did.
I, for one, was not too impressed by the hype and the hoopla.
Sure, the Indian GP showcased the triumph of private entrepreneurship and organisation over government ineptitude; there were no bloopers this time around unlike at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
A couple of stray dogs and goof-ups in last-minute emergency rehearsals could not disguise the fact that given adequate resources and talent, Indian management can rise to the occasion.
What he said:
“I am not a star or a celebrity or an item girl, I am only a sports minister.”
Ajay Maken is atypically humble when asked whether he will be present for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit in NOIDA.
Sports Minister Maken denied promoters Jaypee Group a Rs. 100 crore tax exemption.
“When I rejected their request for tax exemption and custom duty, then why should I expect an invitation?"
The sports minister added:
"Any tax exemption is as good as granting aid. The P T Usha academy does not have a synthetic track, it is such projects which require government support rather than F1.”
No formal invitation was extended by the Jaypee Group to the minister, a move interpreted by sources in the sports ministry as “a deliberate slight”.
The organisers later revealed that two passes had been sent to the minister’s residence.
What Ajay Maken really meant:
“I’m not one of Bernie Ecclestone’s ‘Go-Go girls’. I’m more of a speed-breaker.”
What Ajay Maken definitely didn’t:
“Is Mayawati going to be there?”
1> The two franchise owners could go to court thus staying the auction of players in Jan 2011. This could have the effect of jeopardising or at the least delaying IPL 4 with two possibilities arising: one that the teams are reinstated and thus IPL 4 goes on as scheduled , with some last-minute patch-ups and glitches.
The other is that the BCCI move is upheld and Raj Kundra and Preity Zinta sustain losses on their investments. The fans of Rajasthan Royals and Punjab XI are left feeling disgruntled and the other franchisee owners are left holding their queasy tummies in the sickening realization that the BCCI is a law unto itself and business motivations can take a backseat.