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GP Week : Issue 77
CONSTRUCTION of the circuit to host the inaugural Indian Grand Prix in 2011 has not yet begun, but work to prepare the greenfield site for building to commence is now 90% complete. The preparatory work includes adding elevation changes to the site and installing a vast drainage network, with the entire construction project due to be completed by July next year, about 3 months before its first race in October 2011. The circuit is the latest to be designed by renowned F1 architect Herman Tilke and features a total of 16 corners on its clockwise layout, with elevation changes of up to 60 feet. The circuit's buildings will be of modern western design, a departure from Tilke's usual design philosophies of tailoring the design to local traditions. The track will be located 40km south- east of India's capital city New Delhi, and is being organized and funded by the private Jaypee Sports company. The race was originally due to appear on the calendar in 2010, but was subsequently pushed back by Bernie Ecclestone. The addition of India to the schedule in 2011 will push the season to a record- breaking 20 events -- unless another event is ditched. Indian GP preparations on schedule for 2011 debut F1 NEWS >> LEWIS Hamilton has hailed McLaren's 2010 challenger as the most enjoyable car he has ever driven, despite not yet winning a race this season. The 25-year-old endured a tough year in 2009, after McLaren failed to come to terms with the new regulations in time, but one year later and Hamilton is delighted with the pace of his MP4-25, to the extent he says its better than his championship-winning MP4-23. "I'm very pleased. I think I'm driving as well as I ever have -- I love driving this year's car: I said to my engineers in Malaysia that I'd never had a car that felt as solid and as planted as the MP4-25, it feels like a car that you can not only find a perfect balance with, but you can also really push it, and it reacts well to the changes on full-tanks or when it's empty," Hamilton said after the Malaysian Grand Prix. "And that's meant I've really been able to push to the limit, which is how I love to drive. I don't think I've ever enjoyed driving a Formula One car more than I have with this year's car. Of course, it hasn't been perfect -- but then nothing is -- but I feel extremely confident for the races ahead." Hamilton currently sits sixth in the drivers' championship, just eight points behind leader Felipe Massa. Hamilton hails "most enjoyable" McLaren ever 10