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Tilke in India

I see that Hermann Tilke has been nosing around Delhi, working out where a street race circuit could be run. Good luck to him.

I have seen mention of India’s enormous bureaucracy as an obstacle to a GP there but, so far, nobody has pointed out what may be an even greater problem, especially if we’re talking street circuits. Think of all those photos of Indian street scenes you’ve looked at (there’s one below if you haven’t seen what it’s like) – apart from the traffic, which would be moved out of the way, presumably, what about the cows?


A street in Jaipur

Somebody made a joke recently about cows being the only thing to see at Magny Cours but, in India, they could be a really big problem. They’re sacred to Hindus, remember. And that means you can’t just move them on when they decide to take a nap in the middle of the road.

In America, Christiano da Matta has just spent months in hospital thanks to hitting a deer that had wandered on to the track. That was in a country where deer are definitely not sacred and yet somehow that deer had managed to find its way there. Cows tend to be a lot bigger and heavier than deer…

Understand, I’m not against all these new GPs adding to the calendar – as long as they don’t replace the few great circuits we have left. I just hope that Bernie has considered all the implications of racing on the streets in India, including some sort of an agreement regarding cows.

9 Responses to “Tilke in India”

  1. Is no one thinking of what implications this could have?!?! No one in India will be able to get to work. Then what? how are you going to get service for your Dell computer? or check your account balance? How am I supposed to get horrible phone support if everyone in India is watching an F1 race….

  2. Hehehe, all good points, Dan. This could be the end of civilization as we know it! :D

  3. Dear Mr.Clive,

    I am an avid reader of your usually well researched blogs and i enjoyed reading articles you have written in the past like articles on no.38, which helps us see motor racing from the view of a racer than a spectator. It is also another issue that we share similar views in a wide range of topics including global warming!

    However, in trying to predict a pandimonious “Indian GP”, i am afraid you are a little too forward on your skies. To start with, a random picture of Jaipur’s crowded by lanes in rush hour is not representative of all roads in India, more so for a proposed street race. Really, Bernie is not that stupid, eh?

    It is also another issue that there are better parts of Jaipur like places around Vidhan Soudha and Birla Mandir. The city in question is actually a state capital! If only…

    Delhi and even its fast growing suburbs have been marked as National Capital Region (NCR) of India, where you can bet that basic infrastructure facilities are comparable to any other national capital. To suggest that cows could wander around in streets of Delhi is tantamount to saying that big foot can be spotted in Washington D.C. because it was spotted somewhere in US!!

    And to suggest that Delhi’s streets are only as good as some Jaipur by lanes is like saying whole of New York city looks like subways in Brooklyn or like saying whole of US is as crowded as NY city. Come down to Amherst and you will be left counting the number of souls who ever lived here!

    To further allay your fears about an Indian GP, I request you to have a look at the pictures of the possible venue for the street circuit, from a fellow country man and racing aficionado’s blog.

    Link to f1chronicles

    I usually don’t write or even comment on any blog as i prefer to read more of them from informed writers like you and chip away my ignorance little by little. However at this point i would also like to discuss about another very related topic, motor sports in developing world.

    I have noticed many bloggers suggest that countries like India where motorsport suffers to exist, will hardly realize any values of a GP. Sure enough, in a country like India where cricket is religion, other sports have suffered and lack of patronage is not an issue for motorsport alone. To be fair, it is motorsport infact which atleast has had some patronage outside of cricket!! The city of chennai, (which bernie also frequents) where i come from has a purpose built race track which hosts most of the indian junior formulae. we also have annual moto cross races in chennai which have quite a good following. It is from this part of the India people like Shyam Kothari (Motocross Rider) , Akbar Ebraahim (Former British F3 contestant and current Formula Renault UK and Indian A1 GP team driver Armaan Ebrahim’s father), Vicky Chandok (Current Gp2 driver Karun Chandok’s father and a rally racer), Ram karthikeyan (Narain’s father and a rally racer himself), Narain kumar (Asia pacific rally champion), Parthiva Sureshwaran (British F3 contestant) all hail from.

    In short, Something not known to the outside world does not been it does not exist.



    PS: The racing driver in champ car who was injured in the deer accident was Christiano Da Matta.

  4. You are quite right that it was da Matta who was injured in that accident, Uppili – brain fade on my part and thanks for pointing it out. I have some editing to do, it seems. ;)

    And yes, I must admit that I was cheating a bit by including the street scene from Jaipur. The piece was intended to be a bit light-hearted and I apologize if it offended you. It was really Bernie that I was aiming at and he’s used to having things thrown at him!

    Thank you too for telling us more of motor racing in India. In the west we hear virtually nothing about it and tend to assume that there is none as a result. The pace of change in developing countries is so fast that we easily fall behind, I’m sorry to say. My father spent many years in India and I retain some of his impressions from those days – all hopelessly out of date now, no doubt. Just as a matter of interest, however, to what extent can you limit the range of cows in India? Is it okay to corral them?

    Wonderful pictures, by the way – thanks for including the link.

  5. Ahh , the superiority complex !

    Yes cows are sacred in India, but a High Court order in Delhi had banned them from being let loose, and in case they are let loose, the animal control dept. removes the animals from the streets etc, so you dont see them on roads anymore.

    Sacred doesnt mean we cant move them, just that we dont hurt them.

    And yes your information about India is outdated, come visit New Delhi once, ride on our Metro, or take a drive down the Outer Ring Roads or Central Delhi . Its hard to imagine in the era of the Internet, with the World being a global villages, still there exist such misconceptions about India. Yeah we have snake charmers and lots of holy men all around us , LOL. The prospect of snake charmers roaming our streets is actually quite hilarious to me.

    Also a part of the blame goes to the western media, who only portray the poverty and backwardness of certain parts of India. Poverty exists in each country, but your media just feeds the ego of the viewers by telling them that we live like beggars. I am sure you will find more modern gadgets and electronic appliances in my home than any average American or British home.

  6. I learn something every day. Thanks, Ankit, that has brought me up to date on India – no talk of sacred cows in future, I promise!

    You’re right that it’s largely the fault of the media since they report the bad and rarely the good. I think, if you did a survey, most westerners would be under the same illusions that showed in my post – and I’m glad that you and Uppili have set us straight on these things. At least my post has enabled that to happen… ;)

  7. hi there
    well 2 start am a final year civil engineering student and i have choosen F1 track construction in INDIA a proposal as my final year project. for this i need some technical information regarding the track as in its cross sectional details,the materials used,the test needed to b conducted on them, the standars required etc. can u help me with this or can u guide me to some one who can help me out. the most challenging part of my project is that i can’t have guide as in person the only thing i can seek help is INTERNET.

  8. Hi Sudarshan

    Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about the construction methods and standards of F1 tracks to be able to help you. The FIA website may be a good place to start in your search for information – if they have none, it is likely that there will be links to sites that could help.

  9. I don’t think F1 racing should be held on the streets of Delhi. Delhi deserves way better infrastructure than that. It deserves an F1 stadium.

    I don’t understand why so many people are against F1 in India. It is the third most watched sports in the world after the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics. In India, billions and billions of people watch F1 every weekend. We feel India is denied of good sports. We should get rid of cricket. Cricket is a sickness and a disease in India. It does not have any competiton around the world.

    If India needs to catch up with the rest of the world to become a developed nation, it also has to advance in sports. Almost every kid in India dream of becoming an F1 driver. So it is important to have an F1 track in India to fulfill the dreams of many youngsters and make life much easier and they would not have to go abroad to watch F1.

    India has to develop infratructure not just for cricket, but for Olympics, football and car racing and train youngsters to catch up with USA, China, Australia and Brazil. These are one of the things India needs to develop to catch up with the rest of the world.

    F1 will bring smiles on every Indian’s face. It has huge fan following all over the world.

    By the way, I would also like to see the pictures of the new F1 track in Delhi.

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