India: What You Need to Know

Fact File: Buddh International Circuit, New Delhi, India

Laps 60
Lap Length 5.137 km (3.192 miles)
Race Length 307.249 km (190.916 miles)
First Race 2011
Fastest Lap N/A
2010 Winner N/A

Overview:

We go from one unknown quantity (Korea) to another here in India. The New Delhi circuit hasn’t been with a few teething problems that seemed to replicate those experienced at the rookie 2010 track, the most pressing issue has been that of completion of construction. Despite a wealth of confidence from the race organisers, FOM and FIA, Bernie Ecclestone has only just admitted that he had serious concerns about it being ready in time 2 week previous. Nice to say that now. One of the most exciting aspects of the race, is not only the well-timed clash with Diwali (the Festival of Lights) but the steep elevation changes that feature around the track. From the start the track climbs steeply after turn 2 reaching the highest point at turn 3, now comes the fun part. Halfway between turns 3 and 4 the track hits the lowest elevation before climbing once more, dipping again towards turn 5. Other high points is the long, sweeping right turn between 10 and 11, and the apex of turn 15. So all in all, this is going to be quite the rollercoaster ride, on brand new slippy tarmac.

Overtaking and Strategy:

It’s a guessing game at the moment, but one of the criteria for this track (in an effort to avoid another Abu Dhabi) was to actively encourage overtaking. So the track designers, directed by the FIA have created fast corners that lead into a shorter apex, and at three corners the track is to be widened as a result of a panel that included Michael Schumacher. It will be at turns 3, 6 and 11 that the widening will occur, allowing drivers to choose a variety of racing lines as they enter the corner to boost the chance of a pass. But time will tell if this will be a fruitful decision.

Tyres:

Prime compound: Soft (yellow)

Option compound: Hard (silver)

DRS:

Detection zone 1: 10m after turn 15

Activation zone 1: 36m after turn 16

Detection zone 2: 16m before turn 3

Activation zone 2: 510m after turn 3

Why India Rocks:

This year it provides a level playing field, where all the drivers and teams reach the circuit with a fairly similar range of experience, although the access they have to simulators will differ. Some have apparently arrived with an 85% understanding of the track, but it won’t be until they start laying the rubber on the asphalt that they will truly comprehend the task ahead of them. However reports have already surfaced that a proportion of tickets have gone unsold and in an attempt to encourage attendance race organisers have slashed ticket prices. This said, it’s not altogether unexpected as this is a nation of hardcore cricket fans, but with a track that has already impressed the drivers hopefully it will stand the test of time.

5 Key Points:

  • Complete unknown quantity
  • Predicted to be hard on tyres
  • Great elevation changes
  • New frontier for Formula One
  • Home race for Force India, Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok (free practice only)
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