Friday, October 28, 2011

Why is F1 important to India (and vice versa)?

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October 30th, it shall be!! After so many years of following F1 (some years more passionately than others), we are finally getting an Indian Grand Prix. Drivers like Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso (double world champion), Sebastian Vettel (double and current world champion), Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa, Mark Webber among others. For new Indian F1 fans, this won't look like a big deal. For fans who follows F1, this is HUGE!! 

Almost all news channels have a slot for F1 now-a-days, with many coming forward to teach how F1 actually works and the technical aspect involved in F1. Let's leave the tech stuff for the experts. I will explain how this phenomenon can work wonders for India and Indians.

What can 'new Indian F1 fans' look forward to?
--> F1 is a lot more than just driving. There are umpteen strategies and tactics followed by each driver. So, if you are watching F1 for the first time, just watch it for the thrill of it!! I am sure people will be rooting for Narain Karthikeyan and rightly so. He is the first Indian driver to race in F1. But truth be told, he is now in one of the slower (and non-reliable) cars this season. So, lets not expect too much from him. The mere fact that he is racing should mean more to us!! And if he completes the race, it should be icing on the cake for us.

What can F1 fans look forward to?
--> Current F1 fans can look forward to one and a half hours of absolutely breadth-taking racing. The championships have been taken (Sebastian Vettel as the drivers champion & Red Bull Racing as the constructors champion). However, there's a lot still to play for: Number 2 and 3 is yet to decided with close competition from Button, Webber and Alonso. Sahara Force India still believes they can overtake Renault to become 5th in the constructors (slightly tough now). No one knows how the track will behave in the race, it's a hilly race and is touted as the 2nd fastest race-track in F1 after Monza. So, watch out for more high-speed straights, high speed turns, overtakings. The race will be harder on the tyres though - which would make pit-stops very critical.

Why is F1 important to India?
--> F1 will provide a welcome relief to all the sports fanatics in India who are fed day-in-day-out with different versions of Cricket (Tests, ODI, T20). There are sports like Soccer (English Premier League, Spanish Premier League et al), Lawn Tennis, F1, Olympic Sports etc which can be considered and followed by an Indian. For the world F1 fans, India is now on their map and (Noida) will become a tourist destination. Good for Indian economy.

Why is India important to F1?
--> India is an emerging market. If an international sport is thinking to survive and thrive long-term, India (and China - two of the growing economies and two largest population) will always be on the radar. No rocket science this.

Finally, a very common question asked these days: How can F1 compete with Cricket in India?
--> Let's get this straight. F1 is not competing with Cricket in India. F1 will not overtake Cricket in terms of annual revenue (simply because we play almost 150-200 days of cricket throughout the year with heavy advertising). F1 will happen only once a year in India and it will be for one weekend. Imagine this: the recent India-England series was played on half filled stadiums especially in Kolkata. Argentina (and Messi) came to India and was treated with a jam packed stadium in Kolkata, Blackburn Rovers came for a friendly promotional game with Pune FC team and it was full house there too!! F1 tickets are highly priced and yet it is nearly full (if not completely full for the race)!! This statistic clearly shows we Indians are open to other games as well. So, I feel all games will co-exist with Cricket being over-telecasted and over-watched!!

World motor sport is passing through a tough phase with 2 deaths in a span of 7 days. Time to bring the cheer back!!  

Hope we create a grand spectacle of F1 this weekend. Let the five red lights illuminate.. 


  1. I'm not an F1 aficionado, but have been following the developments of the yet to be help Racing. True, Indians are open to other games and the amount of response is evident at the packed stadiums. Eagerly waiting for 30th.

  2. Hmm! I like bikes more but then I do not follow that either :D I read the post, second para went above my head, rest everything made sense...and did you hear about the stray dog at the track :|

  3. @Ashwini: I was not a huge fan of F1 initially. But when I started understanding the nuances of the game along with my close friends, I realized F1 is much more than just racing!! Even I am eagerly waiting for 30th!!

    @Chintan: Bikes are more happening than cars, no doubt abt it!! But cars (especially F1 cars) are more safe which is more important now-a-days.. I agree, 2nd para was more technical.. And I heard abt the stray dog, hope it isnt true.. Even if its true, we can defend it by saying thats not a stray dog, thats part of the safety team..

  4. I am a huge fan of F1. Great thoughts in this post, nicely written Binu. Hope you will enjoy it:)

  5. @Saru: Yes, I enjoyed it!! Had an amazing experience (though was watching it on TV).. :)

  6. Hey Binu, nice analysis.. yup, F1 is definitely a biggie that India's needs to capitalize on... n it's come out two thumbs up .. n the icing was when Sachin waved the chequered fan.. u're right.. F1 aint competing with cricket but as Indians, its great tht we just organised the race in a great manner :)

    Gud read, Binu :)

  7. Thanks Raj :) Glad Indian Grand Prix went off very well!!

  8. I don't know I shall be happy or sad on entry of India in elite's club "F1 club".On one hand I feel proud of being an Indian at this moment, on the other hand I see some paradoxes produced by some latest data (1) on crimes which says that in 2010, 5000( -) children were kidnapped, raped and killed (2) Quarter a million farmers have committed suicide in a decade; 17 infants died in a state hospital in just 48 hrs. Millions of people sleep daily empty stomach, millions of homes don't have drinking water and proper sanitation. Millions of kids are still deprived of schools. Besides, all these and many more paradoxes, we say that India is shining, we have f1 track, organised commonwealth(guess successfully), going to become superpower, aspiring for hosting Olympics blah blah blah...... .Really, but on what cost? We feel proud of entering any elite club but forget people behind us. Is it law of nature or man made paradoxes?

  9. @Rahul: First of all buddy.. I like the way you comment!! Lotsa questions and concern.. Let me try and answer some of them..

    As much as I hate to say it, you can't compare apples and oranges.. You mentioned children being kidnapped, raped, farmer suicide, infants dead in hospital.. You have a point.. But all this is not because of some people in power.. Its because of the economic inequality our world has given us.. And it is so rampant that even one country cannot fight it head on!!

    By the way, hosting F1 (and commonwealth games) have given many Indians permanent jobs, directly and indirectly.. So, if you look at it, they are actually helping India!!

    To answer your last question, all this is (earlier) man made paradoxes now is termed as the law of nature!! :)

  10. I dont follow F1 but the latest developments in India are incredible!!

    1. True Chirag. However, I still feel more can be done to increase the fan following.


All yours..

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