Greater Noida: A “wild” 14-metre high corner and a 1.2km stretch, where cars can run at a speed of 320km/hr, will make the Jaypee race track challenging and exciting for the drivers, the promoters of the Indian Grand Prix said here today.
India will host its first ever Formula One GP on 30 October next year at the currently under-construction circuit after being marked as the venue of the 18th race on the 2011 calender.
Elevations make the circuit special and it will rise up to 14 metres from turn one to three, Boris Lazaric, chief operating officer (construction), Jaypee Sports International, said.
“The corner on turn three is 14 metres high and it will be a challenge from a driver’s perspective. It’s wild at that point. One mistake and you will be out of the race,” he said while explaining the characteristics of the track in a press conference.
“There is a stretch of 1.2 kilometre which will be the fastest on calendar. The speed (of a driver) would be anything around 320km per hour. From turns 10 and 11, it will be very very fast and the temporary Grand Stands will be so close to the track that about 13,000 spectators will have a memorable view from there,” Lazaric said.
The race alloted to India is subject to FIA homologation but Mark Hughes, vice president (operations), JPSI, is confident that world governing body will approve the circuit.
Homologation is the approval process a race track must go through to be part of a league or series. The regulations and rules that must be met are generally set by the series’ sanctioning body -- in this case the FIA.
“Homologation process is not (a matter of) one day. It takes a number of weeks. It will happen in May next year. The FIA team will come and verify if the work has been done according to the design approved by them.
“There is a specific set of guidelines and they follow it strictly. They will see safety measures and if they are happy, it (homologation) is over,” Hughes said.
Karun Chandhok, India’s second F1 driver, who is also a consultant for Jaypee Group, has been a regular visitor to the circuit and Hughes said more drivers will get to see the track soon.
“Force India drivers have shown interest to come here and in the next few months they can have a look before the completion of the circuit,” he said.
He confirmed that input was taken from a lot of F1 teams and drivers but did not reveal from whom saying,” It is confidential.“
In October 2007, the FIA had signed a Rs 1600 crore contract with JPSK Sports Private Limited to organise an F1 race in India.
The estimated cost to develop the 5.15 km circuit is about $215 million with a seating capacity of 120,000.
JPSI MD and CEO Sameer Gaur said the track will not remain unutilised even in off-season period.
“It was an opportunity that we got in 2007 and it is not going to be limited to just Formula One. We have spoken to motorsport companies for bike races here,” Gaur said.
Gaur was optimistic that the project will be completed in time and also sought to downplay the controversies that the Commonwealth Games has drawn due to delay in venue construction.
“There is no pessimism. All major sports projects face some criticism. I am sure we’ll be successful (in organising CWG). It was a challenge and we have taken up international challenges before. We have fine resources and people. The group is full of optimism,” he said.
Lazaric echoed his views.
“The work is on schedule and the plan is to finish it by the middle of next year. Eight months ago there was nothing. It was flat and we had to move 40 lakh cubic earth to give the track a final shape.
“We faced problems. Over 200 engineers of Jaypee and consultants from outside have worked and we are proud that we will finish it in time,” Boris said.
“There are 15 contractors and 3000 people working and we will double it.”
Gaur also hoped the fans will throng the circuit next year despite motorsports being a southern-centric sport as of now.
“We have done surveys and have got good feedback. There is a lot of enthusiasm in the northern part of the country such as Haryana and Punjab,” he said.