History of Indian Grand Prix

History of Indian Grand Prix

Indian Grand Prix

The Indian Grand Prix will be a Formula One race held in at the Jaypee Group Circuit in India. The first event is scheduled (subject to homologation of the circuit) to take place on October 30 2011 as the 18th race of the 2011 Formula One season.

History

The Irungattukottai Race Track at Chennai
As early as 1997, there have been plans to host an Indian Grand Prix at Calcutta.In 2003, India had only two permanent raceways, one in Chennai (Irungattukottai), and Kari Memorial Speedway in Coimbatore.At that time two 600 acres (2.4 km2) sites in the vincity of the Bangalore airport were examined. Also, in the state Andhra Pradesh, chief minister Chandrababu Naidu reserved 1,500 acres (6.1 km2) of land near the airport at Hyderabad. Vicky Chandhok, father of Karun Chandhok, stated in an interview that "Andhra Pradesh is really pushing it like no other state! It is great to see a chief minister pushing so hard. Bangalore is a great location mainly because of the weather". In December 2003, a seven-year pre-agreement to host the GP in Hyderabad in 2007 was signed. The track was to be build near Gopanapally village, near the outskirts of Hyderabad, and consisted of 1,367 acres (5.53 km2) of land. However, in 2004 there came competition from Mumbai, to shift the track from Hyderabad to Mumbai instead.F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone expected India to host a Grand Prix within three years, aiming for locating at either Hyderabad or Mumbai. But in the end these projects never realised, possibly due to anti-tobacco legislation,and a change in government policy. Both projects then were declared 'dead' in the second half of 2004, when Mumbai's government decided "not to waste money on car fumes while there are more serious issues", and the Hyderabad location was converted to an IT park for technology companies.However sites at Mumbai were still being investigated (Gorai and Navi Mumbai). In 2005, Narain Karthikeyan was to perform in Mumbai in the Jordan F1, but the road proved to be too bumpy.
As of 2007, five locations remained in the running for hosting the Indian Grand Prix: Bangalore, the Gurgaon district in the state Haryana, a permanent track somewhere near New Delhi, a street circuit in New Delhi, as proposed by Vijay Mallya, and a site in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh..
Following months of negotiations, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and Bernie Ecclestone announced in June 2007 a provisional agreement for India to host its first Grand Prix in the 2009 F1 season.The track would be built in the Gurgaon, on recommendation by architect Hermann Tilke.However, in September 2007 the IOA announced that the debut race would take place in 2010 on the Jaypee Group Circuit in Greater Noida.After further assessments of the timeframe involved, Bernie Ecclestone announced in September 2008 that the Indian Grand Prix has been delayed to 2011.
In October 2008, the Renault F1 team showcased their car on a tour across all sites that were previously linked to an F1 circuit in India (except Mumbai): Gurgaon, Lucknow, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Calcutta,and in November 2008 they also performed a street demo on Rajpath at the India Gate end, New delhi, the car being driven by Nelson Piquet, Jr.. In August 2009, the McLaren F1 team showcased their car in Lucknow. On October 11th 2009, the Red Bull F1 team gave a demonstration in Mumbai. David Coulthard drove the Red Bull F1 car across Mumbai's Bandra Worli Sealink.

The circuit

The race will be held at the Jaypee Group Circuit in Greater Noida, 50 km from Delhi.The circuit will be roughly 5.5 kilometres (3.1 miles) and will be designed by F1 circuit designer Hermann Tilke. The 10-year contract for the race has been given to the Indian construction company Jaiprakash Associates.
Says Samir Gaur, MD and CEO of JPSK Sports, a subsidiary of Jaiprakash Associates, "Land acquisition for the 5.5 km track is on and we are hopeful of completing the exercise by February. The designer and contractor for the job too, have been finalised and we are sure of getting the track ready by February 2011, in time for the championship." According to Ashok Khurana, executive vice-chairman of JPSK, the core area of the circuit would be spread over 4,000 hectares and building the infrastructure of the circuit would cost between Rs 12 billion and Rs 15 billion (US$309 million/£188 million/€216 million, at exchange rates of 21 August 2009).
The latest development (January 2010) with the circuit in India is the appointment of Mark Hughes, former number 2 at the Bahrain International Circuit for 5 years and also advisor to the Yas Marina Circuit for their first Grand Prix at the end of 2009.


Economic benefits

Delhi has been seeing a lot of infrastructure developments for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. However, there has been no direct funding provided for an Indian Grand Prix yet.
The benefits of a booming economy like India joining the F1 calendar are clear. Not only would the hotel and tourism industry get an immediate boost, the country's profile, too, would get a lift.
Experts are also of the view that once the Indian Grand Prix kicks off, it has the potential to generate around $170 million in revenue and employ as many as 10,000 people. The opportunity in advertising tie-ups between manufacturers and F1 cannot be overlooked either.

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