India continues to announce its presence amongst the big-hitting economies of the world with a roar as the global juggernaut of Formula 1 rolls into the capital. The Indian Grand Prix takes place 28th October at the Buddh International Circuit near Delhi.
Last year's inaugral GP in India was a resounding success and organisers are looking forward to building on the 95,000 attendence figures for this year and filling the circuit's 110,000 capacity. Last year, the nation's capital truly welcomed the world's most glamorous sport with open arms and gave even the long-standing European GP hosts a run for their money.
India of course, provides her own jet-set for this event and the cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, widely considered the greatest batsman of all time and who is venerated as a god in his home country, was given the honour of waving the chequered flag to start the race. Indian superstar Shah Rukh Khan is the official face of the team Force India and of course will be central to the host team's efforts. Khan is one of the most recognisable stars of the Indian Bollywood film industry with followers that number in the billions.
Sachin Tendulka waves the chequered flag to start the 2011 Indian Grand Prix
The Force India Formula One Team is owned by Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya and Subroto Roy and has their roots based in the Jordan team which over time has become the standard bearer of F1 in India. Sebastian Vettel won the inaugural race and with two consecutive first place finishes it ensures he's the man to beat this time round.
Sonam Kapoor wears Dolce &Gabbana
As always much of the buzz surrounds the after party at the members-only club LAP at Hotel Samrat, organised by actor Arjun Rampal. Last year's party featured a live performance by Lady Gaga. but this year Rampal plans to trump that performance this year when he'll take to the decks for his debut DJ set. He'll be joined on the decks by Gareth Emery, DJ Ankytrixx, Junior Sanchez, and Dirty Vegas completes the line-up of a pure electronic-themed after-party club night along with performances on all three nights by artists from the Cirque du Soleil clubs. Tickets for the event cost from between 20,000-40,000 rupees (300-600 euros), far to much for the average Indian, but not out of reach of the emerging aspirational Indian middle class.
Deepika Padukone wears Dolce&Gabbana
Last year saw the sub-continent's stars come out to play at the after party with Shah Rukh Khan, his wife Gauri, Hrithik Roshan`s wife Suzanne, Bipasha Basu, Deepika Padukone, Preity Zinta, Anil Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor all in attendence. It promises to be another glamour fest this year too.
Shah Rukh Khan wears Dolce&Gabbana
Narain Karthikeyan is the only Indian driver involved in the competition, driving for HRT, in an interview with the India Times he explained why he believes the sport has a big future in India. Unlike China, India is a country where people have plenty of knowledge about motorsports. In China it is only limited to Shanghai. However, in saying that, Brazil is also a developing country like India but they have around 20 different tracks around the country while we have just one F1 track. Even in karting competitions in Brazil, you can see at least 60 karts lining up which you don't get to see in India," he said.
Anil Kapoor wears Dolce&Gabbana
Karthikeyan also pointed out that last year's race was seen as the must-see event for Delhi's fashionable elite. "Delhiites are brand-conscious people. So in the inaugural season lots of people attended because that was the 'in-thing'. From this year onwards you will see only the genuine motorsports fans at the race," said the 35-year-old.
By Hugo Mc Cafferty
The Times of India