Plans and construction are coming along on time for the Indian GP to debut in October 2011, Reuters is reporting today. And of note is word that all the Formula 1 teams have had a look at the design, the chance to put it into simulators and then offer suggestions about how to improve the track, which will be located near the capital, New Delhi.
“It’s an undulating 5.5 kilometre track which we expect to have the second fastest average speed of any circuit on the calendar behind Monza,” [vice president of JPSK Sports Mark] Hughes added.
“We sent the details to all the teams and they programmed the information into their simulators and gave us feedback on where we could make improvements and add overtaking opportunity points.”
The owners have a 10-year deal with Formula One Management, aka Bernie Ecclestone. As you might suspect, Herman Tilke is the designer, although I certainly took note of the word “undulating” — perhaps Tilke has learned how to make tracks go up and down?
Here’s more from Hughes, who Reuters refers to as the former operations director of the Bahrain GP. A little added background check shows he also was operations chief at Brands Hatch and has managed rally teams. (I can’t determine if it is the same Mark Hughes who helped Tommy Byrne write his memoir, although it looks like it isn’t.)
“The circuit is part of a sports city being constructed 35 kilometres outside the Indian capital on a 2,800 acre site with areas set aside for the Formula One track and a 100,000-seater international cricket stadium,” Hughes added.
“We expect to complete construction by July 2011 and once (Formula One governing body) FIA has given its approval we can finalise training for marshals, track officials and medical staff in time for an October race.” Hughes forecast an attendance figure of around 120,000 spectators for race day and believes the sport ministry’s initial cool response to an Indian race would be warmed by the increase in tourism for the event.
The budget for the work is $350 million, which owners say they can manage without any government assistance.
And one final, important point for anyone thinking of going:
Because the company specialises in infrastructure Hughes said accessibility would not be a problem as they were building an eight-lane highway that runs past the circuit with a long-term goal of a metro station from central Delhi out to the sports hub.