Narain Karthikeyan

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Formula 1: Indian GP, ‘sporting’ questions and go-karting infrastructure

Sebastian Vettel driving for Scuderia Toro Ros...

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.

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Formula One: Karun Chandhok Regrets That Not All His Fans Can Go-Kart

Formula One 2010 Rd.3 Malaysian GP: Karun Chan...

What he said:

“A kid watching a Karun Chandhok on TV can’t get into his go-kart and drive off.”

Karun Chandhok, just the second Indian Formula One driver after Narain Karthikeyan, admits that Grand Prix racing is an elitist sport.

Chandhok said:

When you come from a country like India, where you are one of the two people out of 1.2 billion, it’s a nice little exclusive club to be a part of.
One of two people out of 1.2 billion. That’s a huge disparity. Especially, when people throng to other sports.

Well, it’s only cricket, isn’t it? I think the main thing is infrastructure.

Chandhok made his F1 debut for Hispania Racing and is currently a test driver with Team Lotus.

On racing being glamorous and attracting WAGS, Chandhok shrugs:

This is a glamorous sport, and we shouldn’t apologise for it because there is nothing wrong in it. It’s a fantastic selling point for the sport. WAGs you even have in cricket; they have Liz Hurley now, I hear.

On the Indian GP in NOIDA, Chandhok says:

I’d love a great Indian crowd here. So far, we have sold about 60,000 tickets already which is great. I hope the teams and drivers enjoy it. They were asking me about Delhi and some of them want to go to Jaipur for a holiday, so I have become some sort of a tourism authority for them.

How did Chandhok get into the sport?

My grandfather used to race in the 50s, my father used to race in the 70s, and in India getting into your family business is normal. I started go-karting when I was just 6 and I started racing when I was 16.

What Chandhok really meant:

“A kid watching Sachin Tendulkar can’t bat like him either but at least he  can try.”

What Chandhok  definitely didn’t:

“You guys can speed race with souped up engines instead—a la ‘The Fast and The Furious’.”


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