India plays host for the 17th round of the 2012 Formula One World Championship with teams arriving in New Delhi and making their way to Greater Noida and the impressive Buddh International Circuit. With only three races to follow, India marks the beginning of the endgame in the race for Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship glory.
The debut of the Indian Grand Prix was perhaps the highlight of the 2011 season. Buddh proved to a fast, flowing and highly demanding race track, complete with memorable corners and several good overtaking opportunities. This was supplemented by an excited and knowledgeable crowd who replicated the general high level of enthusiasm with which the Indian public greeted Formula One.
Replacing last year’s great leap into the unknown, F1’s second visit to Buddh is heralded by keen anticipation from those drivers who raced here last season. The high-speed turns proved an instant hit, and having had a year to mature the surface is likely to deliver even more grip this time around Ð though potentially at the cost of greater tyre wear.
Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton, respectively third and fourth in the Drivers’ Championship are quoted as having all-but written off their title aspirations for this year, in effect making the 2012 Drivers’ Championship a two-horse race between Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso. With a clean sweep of three victories from the recent races in Singapore, Japan and South Korea, momentum is clearly with Vettel, who now leads Alonso by six points. Alonso, however, has stayed in the hunt all year despite having his chances of a third world championship dismissed by many even before the season began. With 100 points still on the table, he won’t be conceding anything just yet.
BUDDH INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT
Length of lap:
5.125km Lap record:
1:27.249 (Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing, 2011) Start line/finish line offset:
0.251km Total number of race laps:
60 Total race distance:
307.249km Pitlane speed limits:
60km/h during practice and qualifying,
100km/h during the race
Changes to the circuit since 2011
► The grass to the right before T5 and T16 has been replaced with asphalt. The asphalt on the exit of T15 has been extended.
► The additional kerbs behind the apex kerbs at T6, T7 and T8 have been lengthened by 5m at each end.
► An area of artificial grass has been laid behind the apex of T7. A 1m wide strip of artificial grass has been laid behind the kerb around the inside of T10 and T11. The verge on the right between T8 and T9 has been leveled.
► The kerb, artificial grass and asphalt run-off area on the right after T9 has been extended as far as the ‘oval’ track loop.
► The guardrail on the right before T10 has been re-aligned further from the track.