The 2011 Formula 1 season is all set to begin and it is going to be a fantastic one at that. Not only do we have an Indian on the grid for the second year in a row, we also have the first ever grand prix on Indian soil. This season is going to be a special one for the Indian Formula 1 fans as the stars they have been watching on TV will actually be letting their car rip in Delhi this year.
The Indians will have their own team to cheer for and will be hoping that Force India has a great year this time. This season too will be a hard fought one and again the top teams will battle out for the constructers championship. Red Bull the winners of 2010 will again be a strong team and will receive a tough competition from McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault. Force India who finished 7th last year would want to improve on their standing and try to creep up the ladder this season. Narain Karthikeyan will also be excited to be involved in India’s first grand prix this year and Karun Chandhok who will be a reserve driver for LOTUS will still be harboring thoughts of driving in Delhi too.
This is surely going to be a great year and the season is all set being in Australia this week. Let’s hope for another great year for the motorsports fans and special congratulations to all the Indians who will finally see their favorite drivers outpacing each other at Noida later this year.
Team Force India will be in the focus when the first F1 Grand Prix kicks on in India later this year
If 2010 was big for India, 2011 will be even bigger. The 2010 had India host the Commonwealth Games and in spite of being in the news for all the wrong reasons the games was a success. The games were also made memorable by India’s second place finish on the medals tally just behind Australia. Now in 2011 we have the Cricket world cup followed by India’s first Formula 1 race later this year. For a cricket fan it can’t get bigger than a cricket world cup.The kind of euphoria cricket generates in India cannot be matched by any other sporting event.
This will be the third time India will be hosting the world cup and it is a great honor for the country as well as the people to stage the event. India have had pretty good success rate with the world cups hosted in the subcontinent as they made the semis on all the three occasions. They will be hoping that they do better than that this time. As with CWG 2010, the cricket world cup preparation has also started on a wrong note when Eden Gardens was deemed unfit to host the India-England game by the ICC review committee. This has raised questions over the ability of CAB (Cricket Association of Bengal) to get the stadium ready soon enough to at least host the rest of the games. The fans for sure will be disappointed with this effort by the administrators involved as losing a high profile game will be a big loss to them. The game was finally moved to Bangalore, so everything is fine now with the schedule. The ICC though will take a call as to whether Eden is ready enough to host the rest of the games in the coming days.
The other major sporting event in India is the Formula 1. India for the first time this year will host their first Formula 1 race in Noida, Delhi. This has been in the pipeline for a long time now but has finally become a reality. The preparations are at full swing and this will give an opportunity for Delhi to repair their image after the controversies over the CWG2010 arrangements. If reports are to be believed, the Delhi track is well ahead of schedule and will be ready before the D-day. The race is scheduled to take place on the 30th of October, so the administrators have ample time to get the track ready.
The F1 race is also made special by having our own F1 team Force India on the grid and also having Narain Karthikeyan racing for HRT this year. It will be fantastic if Force India can get a podium finish in their debut race in India. So 2011 will be great year for Indian sports, with India being the hosts for two major sporting events. The Formula 1 enthusiasts in the country will be really excited with the prospect of having the first F1 race in India. I hope that the organizers of this event leave no stone unturned and make sure that the track is up and running well before the deadline. It will be great if at least the F1 preparations stay away from any major controversies.
The cricket world cup is just couple of weeks away and with India touted as one of the favorites to claim the title; it will be really interesting to see how they respond. In spite of the slight blip with the Eden Gardens, I hope that BCCI pull this off with flying colours.
Narain Karthikeyan makes a comeback to Formula 1 racing after 5 years
Narain Karthikeyan has managed to get a Formula 1 drive for the 2011 season with Hispania Racing Team (HRT). This will be the second time Narain will compete in F1 after his association with Jordan in 2005. Narain will be thrilled as he will be racing in F1 again in the year when India will host its first Grand Prix at Delhi. With Karun Chandhok still looking for a possible F1 seat in 2011, it might end up a great year for F1 lovers in India if both of them manage to race this year.
Speaking to the media, the 33 year old Indian was rightfully ecstatic about fulfilling his dream of being on the F1 grid for the first Grand Prix in India.
“I have worked really hard to come back to F1 and it will be a dream come true to race in the first ever Indian Grand Prix in front of my fellow Indians. I hope that they will spur me on with their blessings and good wishes,” said Karthikeyan.
Narain thanked the Tata Group, who have been instrumental in getting him the F1 seat this year.
“It’s been a while in the making, but I am delighted to be racing again in Formula 1 in 2011. I have always maintained that I have not given up on my desire to return to the top level of motor sport. I am confident that I have the pace, the fitness and the will to succeed in Formula 1. I am extremely grateful to the Tata Group, without whose unwavering support, this comeback would not have been possible.
“I’m looking forward to racing for HRT, and to working again with Dr Colin Kolles (MD/Team Principal, Hispania Racing). We have a long standing and excellent working relationship together,” said Karthikeyan.
It will be a great year for the Indian motorsport fans as not only there is an Indian team on the Grid for the 2011 Delhi race, but now we also have a confirmed Indian driver on the grid.
Karun Chandhok lead HRT finishes over the weekend at Sepang
Hispania Racing Team (HRT) achieved what they were set out to do in the Malaysian Grand Prix when both their drivers completed the race. Karun Chandhok finished his second race in a row and this was the first race finish for Bruno Senna. Both the drivers were very satisfied with the results.
Karun Chandhok who finished 15th at Sepang was very happy with the result.
Speaking after the race he said, “I am fantastically happy to have finished my second race today after our difficult debut in Bahrain. I kept out of trouble and pitted on lap 17. On lap 45, I had a tricky moment, passing Trulli’s Lotus. A great thank to the team who did a fantastic job. To finish was very difficult today but I am happy to have done it.”
Bruno Senna who completed his first race this season was really pleased with the efforts of the team to get both cars to finish.
“I had a good start and gained as much as I could. I am really pleased for the team to have finished the race with both cars. It has been another positive weekend for the team taking a good step forward.” , he said after the race.
The team Principal Collin Kolles was visibly elated as his team was able to finish both the cars only in their third race and was all praise for both the drivers.
“A fantastic day for the team completing our first two-car finish in only our third race, with no pre-season testing. Bruno Senna had a good start while Karun Chandhok had a bad one. But Karun could find a good pace then and both drivers had reliable races. Again we have made a great step forward. We reached our goal with two cars finishing the race. Congratulations to the team who worked again hard to achieve this result. Now we have to work on more developments for the next Grand Prix in China.”, he said.
So the HRT team has achieved their first goal but now would want to do better in the upcoming Chinese Grand Prix. Both the drivers would be confident with their cars after a good race at Sepang and would want to carry over the confidence to the rest of the season.
Karun Chandhok was absolutely delighted as he achieved the first finish for his team HRT in the Australian Grand Prix. He finished last in the race but a finish nonetheless for the Hispania Racing team. Karun who hit a bump and had to retire in the first race of the season seemed very satisfied with his efforts in Australia,
“A great thanks to the team. To finish was very difficult today, and all the more satisfying because of that. I dedicate this race result to all the mechanics and engineers who worked so hard since Bahrain, without any pre-season testing. This is a fantastic day for the team and a great step forward. I am proud to have ended our first race.”
He was confident that they will be able to finish higher in the races to come. His teammate Bruno Senna though wasn’t that lucky as he had to retire following a hydraulic failure. He was visibly frustrated but remained hopeful that his team would be able to finish both the cars next race.
“I didn´t intend my second Grand Prix to end with a hydraulic failure, but that´s racing. I made a good start and was in 14th after the big crash in front. It’s fantastic for the team to make it to the finish and we have got a great deal of data to work from for Malaysia. I hope we can finish with two cars next race.”
The next race begins in about 4 days in Malaysia and the HRT team will have their work cut out in getting both cars up and running. The fact that one of their drivers completed the race would give them much needed confidence for the remainder of the season. And as Senna said the team will be hoping for both the cars to finish in Malaysia.
Hispania Racing team who had a disappointing beginning to the season when both their racers were unable to finish in Bahrain said that they are aiming for finishes in Australia. Karun Chandhok hit a bump and crashed out and Senna could only complete 17 laps as an engine failure forced him to retire.
Speaking to the media the team principal Colin Kolles said “We have worked extremely hard since the Bahrain season opener, We have worked long hours and successfully with Bridgestone, Cosworth and Xtrac learned from our first laps with the car and found a good basis from which to start preparation for our second Grand Prix in Australia in a few days. “
“We have successfully repaired the damage sustained by Karun Chandhok’s car and focused on building our car’s reliability. Our goal is to improve steadily and the next step is to work towards our first race finish. I am confident we will achieve this goal very soon and having seen how we came together as a team in Bahrain I can see just how much potential and commitment we have”, he added.
Karun Chandhok who had a disappointing start to his F1 campaign seemed optimistic with his chances in Australia.
“I am really looking forward to my second F1 race this weekend,” he said. “I have never driven in Melbourne, but I am a very quick learner. I was able to work on a team’s simulator before the Grand Prix so that will help my familiarisation a little bit! Our next step with the team’s engineers is to make the car reliable for the race. The secret of good racing preparation is to complete as many laps as possible on Friday to see where we are with the car. Finishing the race would be a fantastic achievement we will strive for.”
Bruno Senna who was forced to retire due to an engine failure after 17 laps hoped that HRT will have a better finish this weekend in Australia. Bruno Senna who has already won on this track albeit in Formula 3 seemed really confident ahead of the second race of the season.
“We need to continue building on what we achieved in Bahrain,” said the Brazilian. “We put two cars together and ran successfully in Bahrain. Now we must continue to work as a team. I came early to Australia to acclimatise to the time difference. I love Australia more and more, as I spend more time here! I have already driven on the Melbourne track, back in 2006.”
“I did the F3 support race for F1 back then and had a fairly successful weekend. I won! Now, I must work with the team to continue learning about the car. I have enjoyed working long hours with the team so far and I will be giving my all as I really want to progress and guarantee them good results.”
Ecclestone says no to any changes in the Refueling regulations
The refueling regulations implemented for the 2010 F1 season received quite flak from the media and the teams alike after the first race of the season. The reason for the outburst was due to the fact that there were no refueling stops which enabled the teams to strategize in the past and it made interesting viewing as it also paved way for teams to overtake.
Putting paid to any hopes of reinstating refueling Bernie Ecclestone said that there will be no rule changes for this season and the teams have to live with the same. He said that the rule change now is impractical owing to the designs of the 2010 cars.
Speaking to the media Bernie Ecclestone said,
“We cannot change the rules. It would take far too long and it’s too difficult. F1 is now a democracy. And all the teams voted for these rules, so now they must also deal with them.”
Even though every team has criticized the refueling regulations Ecclestone found a supporter in Vijay Mallya, the owner of F1 team Force India when he said that the teams have to give the new rule a chance.
Speaking to the media Mallya was quoted saying,
“We need to give the regulations a chance to prove themselves and for people to learn how to use them,” he said. “To change everything after just one race is a knee-jerk reaction, let’s see how it goes in Australia and Malaysia and make an informed decision about whether we do need to react to improve the Formula One show. If we do then at least we have more information to make a proper call.”
It seems like most of the drivers and team bosses are not happy with the current regulation but Ecclestone has clearly said that the rule is written in stone and cannot be changed this season. So the teams will do well to come out with a strategy to deal with the same instead of complaining. Hopefully the teams will be better prepared in Australia than they were in Bahrain and I guess the qualifying might become more important this season.