Formula One comes to India on October 30, 2011 for the first time ever.
The Buddh Circuit in NOIDA is all set to welcome 24 drivers on 12 teams.
The hype is truly on, as a nation of disparities celebrates an elitist sport.
Here are three memorable quotes on this special occasion from Sebastian Vettel, Karun Chandhok and Samir Gaur—what they said, really meant and definitely did not.
The Buddh Circuit
What He Said:
“In India, when marriages take place, till last moment one keeps arranging for flower, vermilion till the last moment. Here we are welcoming not one, but 24 bridegrooms.”
Jaypee Sports CEO and MD, Samir Gaur, brushed aside questions from the press as to whether work on the Buddh circuit was still underway less than a fortnight before the much-awaited Indian Grand Prix on October 30.
India’s first ever Formula One Grand Prix is the epee of Indian sport this year.
Narain Karthikeyan, praising the track, said:
“I have raced on all the major F1 tracks across the globe and I rate this track as one of the best in the world.”
What Gaur Really Meant:
“The bride (Buddh) is being prepared for the Swayamvar. Surely, you’d expect nerves and last-minute palpitations?”
What Gaur Definitely Didn’t:
“There’s enough wedding cake for all to go around.”
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.
"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 six 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.'"
What He Said:
“It’s probably more to do with the ego because there are no points, so it’s really stupid from my side, but now I’ve got one, I’m happy."
Youngest two-time Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel dedicates the fastest lap of the race at the Korea Grand Prix to his ego.
Vettel won 10 races this season, but had just one fastest lap against his name until Korea.
Vettel pulled out all stops on his final circle to secure the fastest lap, ignoring suggestions from his Red Bull team to take it easy.
"I think they will kill me now. On the radio they initially said ‘you didn’t get the fastest lap,’ which obviously isn’t true. Then they came back on the radio and said ‘idiot, you got it.’
"It’s really stupid. I think in other races it doesn’t really make sense, but on the last lap I had a good feeling, and yeah, I was pushing a bit harder to get the fastest lap. It’s a small thing."
What Vettel Really Meant:
“Smart driving wins championships; fast driving wins laps.”
What Vettel definitely Didn't: