New Delhi, October 1 (): With only 30 days left for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix, the Red Bull Racing F1 team is making its way to the most iconic streets of India’s capital, New Delhi. The Delhiites today got the first taste of Formula 1 with young racer Daniel Ricciardo burning the rubber of a Red Bull Racing car on the historic Rajpath.
It was a fast and furious drive on a two-mile long stretch, with speed metre touching around 250kms during the show named ‘Speed Street’.
The event began at 2pm; Rajpath was used as a “race track” to give Delhi a taste of the F1 Airtel Indian Grand Prix. With musical programmes and stunt shows, Saturday’s show is expected to attract a large number of spectators.
A full-spec car graced the symbolic home of sovereign India on Rajpath, India Gate, which was built as a memorial to India’s struggle for independence, to provide fans with a first-hand encounter of the F1 experience. All the things that make this sport great; the speed, excitement, noise and thrills will captivate an audience of over 30,000 fans.
The Red Bull F1 drivers will tear up the streets, reaching speeds of over 250kph and take over the Indian heartland in a way that only Red Bull and F1 can. This never before seen show is sure to be talked about for years.
Ricciardo ran his car thrice on the Rajpath, enthralling the 2000-strong crowd. Incidentally, Ricciardo replaced India’s Narain Karthikeyan in the Hispania for the second half of the 2011 season.
Before Ricciardo’s performance, Ghost Riders — a group of five bikers — performed breath-taking freestyle stunts. Ricciardo also shook a leg with a Bhangra Group, which performed in between. At the end of his performance, Ricciardo held the Indian tri-colour and waved to the crowd, drawing huge cheers.
The Australian racer later addressed a chaotic press conference and said F1 would prove to be beneficial for motor sport in the country. “With Karun and Narain racing (in home race), it’s good for the country. Force India is also doing well,” he said.
Karthikeyan is the only Indian driver confirmed for the October 30 race, as Karun Chandhok’s Team Lotus has not yet made it clear whether he will get a chance to race on his home track.
Ricciardo said Narain is his “main competitor in the Hispania team” as the two-shared 2011 calender races between them with Vitatonio Liuzzi being the lead driver. Asked what speed he managed while driving today, he said, “I am not sure but I think I was close to 270kms.”
“A lot of foreign enthusiasts are waiting for the success of the first Grand Prix. I am sure once we are able to pull it off, there would be a lot of high-end clients making a beeline for the next one,” Suda director of New Delhi-based travel company said.
Vijay Thakur, chief of the Indian Association of Tour Operators, said the success of F1 in India is not guaranteed. “F1 is bound to generate a lot of international interest, but it depends on how it is marketed. Otherwise, our expectations may not be met,” Thakur was quoted as saying.