Well then, it looks like everyone who needs to has finally arrived, so let us begin.
So India then and the inaugural Formula One race at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, New Delhi. Narain Karthikeyan gets a ride in the HRT whilst Karun Chandhok gets told he’s not as good as Trulli and is relegated to Lotus pit lane tour guide for the weekend.
It’s a brand spanking new (Tilke) circuit that looks somewhat like Turkey, China and Korea. It’s more finished than Korea was last year, but it’s a bit slapped together in places with the BBC five live team questioning their commentary box having no windows earlier in the week.
No doubt it was time to turn up in the world’s fifth largest economy and try and sell some cars to the locals that aren’t dirt poor. But as with a lot of things in India these days it would appear that a lot of time has been spent writing reports and shifting farmers off the land, and not much time spent finishing off buildings with tools such as a set squares or a spirit levels.
I know it’s not the done thing, but really .... this is the fifth largest economy in the world and it still can’t build a major sporting venue without bits of it falling down before the event takes place. I suppose it’s better than having a few floaters in the swimming pool and a pack of wild dogs hanging around the competitor’s accommodation. But really, Abu Dhabi managed to build a new track without having to rebuild it the day after the first race finished.
Okay, so then this being a new track that as far as I know hasn’t been troubled by anything with an engine and sticky rubber running on it. It’s going to be extremely green and very dusty for the whole weekend; this makes it a lottery in terms of picking a finisher let alone a top ten.
Tires then, it’s all going to be about the tires, the team that gets a handle on their tires and how they’re reacting to the new circuit as it rubbers in, and comes up to speed is going to have an advantage. All the teams have topological and simulation data on the track, but no one has any experience of the surface and how it reacts to heat and the load of the tires. It’s going to be slippery and chew tires up to begin with, the question will be how long will the tires last when they get to the midpoint of the race.
Given that none of this matters though, except for Force India who are running for pride, I don’t think any of the team will be trying all that hard. Other than Force India in fact I’m struggling to think of any teams that have India sponsorship to worry about, maybe the back end of the grid will pick up some local pin money. But Ferrari doesn’t sell too many cars east of Dubai, Redbull sell a few drinks but not as much as they do in Europe, whilst McLaren has two British drivers I suppose.
Redbull then, though McLaren went very well in Korea last week, until the race when Vettel got back up to speed obviously.
Hey ... maybe Webber will finally get his act together and do something other than go backwards.
In other news New York ... sorry New Jersey USA will be getting a Grand Prix in 2013. Whoopty doo. Yet another circuit shoe horned into a city. Look Monaco is fine, we’ll have it because, well, we’ve always had it. Montreal doesn’t look like a city so that’s okay.
But have they learnt nothing from Valencia? This year all the talk on the commentary was about the architecture and the fact that they have a race. Not about the race, because yet again there wasn’t really one, just the car running around an empty dockyard which on Monday morning would be turned back into a fish market.
America has some fantastic circuits that, whilst maybe not up to FIA speck, are superb circuits for actual racing on. Lime Rock, Laguna Seca, , Road America (Elkhart Lake) and Watkins Glen all have history and more importantly Herman Tilke has been nowhere near them. Why can’t we go to these circuits? No one in Texas gives a monkies about F1 they’re all NASCAR red necks through and through. Even Indy car struggles down south these days. New York is all about the money yet again.
But hey, as long as Bernie is getting paid, it’s all good isn’t it.
Talking of Bernie, the finger pointing and “it was him I gave the money too” backside coverage that has been going on in Bavaria over the past year, has finally arrived at the courts. To recap, when CVC bought the rights to Formula one, it is alleged that Bernie paid former BayernLB bank executive Gerhard Gribkowshy just a whole shed load of cash for “advice” on selling F1. Now I don’t know about you, but if someone offered you $44 million dollars for advice, you’d expect more than a slap up meal and a round of brandies in the smoking room later.
Bernie has claimed it’s all above board and totally fine Guv’ner, whilst the Bavarian authorities continue to investigate his involvement. Everyone knows he’s a shady character, but I doubt they’ll be able to pin anything on him this time.