India Insight

Playing spoilsport with Formula One?

Despite the Force India team taking second place at the podium at the Belgian Grand Prix there is no rethinking in the sports ministry on its view that Formula One is not enough of a sport.

Sports minister M.S. Gill congratulated Vijay Mallya on his team’s win but labelled Formula One as ‘expensive entertainment’.

The sports ministry has refused approval to the promoters of Formula 1 in India, JPSK Sports, to pay 1.7 billion rupees to the Formula One Administration for the proposed Indian Grand Prix of 2011.

The ministry has reasoned that the Formula One race “does not satisfy conditions which focus on human endeavour for excelling in competition with others, keeping in view the whole sports movement from Olympic downwards.”

It wrote to the promoters that Formula One is not purely sports, it is entertainment and the venture by JPSK Sports was a commercial initiative.

Force India podium, giant leap for Indian motor sport?

India can boast of taking a major stride in Formula One after Italian driver Giancarlo Fisichella drove from pole to second on the podium at the Belgium Grand Prix on Sunday.

The first points for the team owned by India’s liquor and airlines baron Vijay Mallya was a pleasant surprise, the team having failed to make an impact since it was launched ahead of the 2008 season.

The Indian media lapped up the news, indicating that F1′s popularity in India will only grow more rapidly as Indian fans gradually embrace the team as theirs.

Formula One – Singapore sets high standard for India

I have to admit I am not a Formula One fan but I did jump to the offer of going to Singapore for the floodlit race and am IToyota Formula One driver Timo Glock of Germany drives past the Old Court House at the Singapore F1 Grand Prix at the Marina Bay circuit glad I went! The experience of watching a race live is incomparable to what you get on television especially since this one was a night street-race and an Indian team was competing (Never mind the fact that one of the team’s drivers crashed out mid way and the other ended the race in the last spot.)

Felipe Massa drives off with the fuel hose still attached to his car at the Singapore F1 Grand PrixAs a non-F1 enthusiast it was only when I was at the race that I learned how much the team matters in a sport that seems like a one-man show. It is the mechanics, the analysts and the managers that make or break the race for the team driver. A case in point is top qualifier Felipe Massa who lost his lead in the race because he was given an incorrect green signal while he was in the pit refueling and drove off with the fuel pipe in his car only to drive back and lose those precious seconds.

Hysteria apart, the Grand Prix showed the tiny city-country of Singapore’s unbelievable capability to host 300,000 people over three days with impeccable organization, top security and an entertainment appeal… It had some like me pledging to come back for more!