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MUMBAI: India’s motor sports chief has dismissed concerns about the readiness of the track for the country’s Formula One debut in October but is unhappy about reports the race could be shifted to the stifling heat of April next season.
Subject to a final inspection, the Indian Grand Prix will be held at the Buddh International Circuit, about 40 kilometres from New Delhi, on Oct. 30.
Media reports have said that Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has proposed an April slot for the 2012 race.
“I am not happy with April because it’s going to be hot,” Vicky Chandhok, president of the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India, said in an interview.
“But if we have to go in April we will go. But I really think that the ideal dates for India are when it’s cooler. Maybe March or you go to October, November, December.” Temperatures in Delhi usually hover around 40 degrees in April. It gets hotter in May.
“In Delhi there is no humidity, it’s not that high. You are racing in Malaysia where the humidity is higher,” Chandhok, father of Lotus driver Karun, said with a grin. The International Automobile Federation (FIA) has postponed the final inspection of the circuit by a month to Sept. 1 but Chandhok allayed fears that there was a delay in construction and said the issue was purely “logistical.”
“Purely administrative reasons. Track advisor Charlie Whiting, who has been here three-four times, asked us ‘doesn’t it make logical sense for me to combine it with Korea?'”, Chandhok said.
“He is visiting Korea at the end of this month. On his way back he is flying over Delhi. So he will stop over at Delhi as it will make logical sense for the FIA.
“We said we are fine with it. It’s purely procedural and a matter of convenience for the date of inspection. Nothing else.”
The 5.14-km track would be one of the fastest circuits in the world and would encourage overtaking, said Chandhok, who was in Mumbai for the launch of a racing venture modelled on city-based franchises.
“I have been to every single racetrack in the world. It’s going to be one of the fastest circuits in the world,” he said.
“1.2 km straight and three corners that have now been redefined. They are following the new FIA guidelines to encourage overtaking.
“I think it’s going to be phenomenal.” (Agencies)