The Formula 1 juggernaut has rolled into town. The first ever Indian Grand Prix will take place this weekend. We had a chance to visit the Buddh International Circuit on Thursday. Admittedly, there was not much on track action. But we did get to see the F1 cars and the equipment closely.
Since this is the first Formula 1 Grand Prix in India, the security arrangements were quite detailed, even though everyone was admittedly trying to find their feet in the new surroundings. Once inside the Paddock area, the first driver we caught a glimpse of was Mark Webber, on his way from the Red Bull Racing team pits to the team building. That is probably when the realization sunk in – we are really here! As the day went on, we saw Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, NarainKarthikeyan, Rubens Barrichello and TimoGlock all busy helping the teams set up the cars, and taking time out for PR events organized by the teams and sponsors.
Activity in the area was at a feverish pace from the morning itself, since most teams were setting up their cars for the weekend. The crew members of all teams, no matter how big or how small, were running around trying to get all the stuff ready. [RELATED_ARTICLE]
The Scuderia Ferrari F1 team hosted us for the day as a part of an event organized by Acer. Incidentally, Acer are the sponsors, and also offer IT support to the Maranello based team. We had a chance to visit the pit garage, witness work being done on the car as both Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa’s crew were busy setting up the car for Friday’s first practice session. Mr. Andrea Beneventi, the Head of Electronics for Track and Test, and Head of Support at Scuderia Ferrari, showed us around the otherwise off-limits telemetry section as well. We weren’t allowed to take any pictures inside the pit garages or the telemetry area because of security reasons, but we do have a lot of pictures from the rest of the circuit.
Formula 1 is as much about the visual experience as it is about the sound of the amazing engines. Since these monsters were still in the pits, the Mercedes SLS AMG, which is the official safety car at F1 events, decided to light up the track. Driven by Bernd Maylander, the SLS was enjoying itself attempting to better its own lap times every lap. The throaty growl of the 6.3 litre V8 engine was just music to the ears, and we could even feel the vibrations in the pit lane as it went across the start-finish straight lap after lap!
The main grandstand at the Buddh International circuit is an imposing structure. Expect this to be jam packed come Sunday.
We are here! Rubbing our eyes in disbelief!
The view up and down the pit lane.
This is the pit-wall area that is being set up by this gentleman from Ferrari. This is usually where the final decisions on race strategy are taken during the race. All teams will have an individual pit-wall area for themselves.
No matter how big or small the team, they all put in a lot of hard work to make the weekend a success. One car is being rolled up the pit lane, and the one is coming the other way!
Ah yes! The front needs to go with the car too!
The teams are in full swing, setting up their cars.
We have often seen these tire warmers on television, and they are usually the last things to come off the cars on the grid. They are used to maintain an optimum temperature of the rubber (which is usually a lot more than the ambient temperature) to allow the best possible grip into the first corner.
This is how Ferrari ensures separate rubber sets for both their drivers.
Tires are serious stuff.
Up close and personal with the Pirelli rubber.
More stuff is on the way!
McLaren aren’t scared to show off their success!
In the midst of the mixture of fun and serious business, this was a charity event all set to happen. These paintings are made by the underprivileged children, and are on display at the track. All drivers will sign these, and they will be auctioned.
TimoGlock gives an interview.
That’s Eddie Jordan walking down the pit lane. A former racing driver himself, he was the owner of the Jordan Grand Prix team from 1991 to 2005. Eddie is now working with the BBC.
We were hosted by the Ferrari team as a part of an event sponsored by Acer. All images taken are from a Canon EOS 1100D.