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GP Week : Issue 140
F1 INDIA >> INDIAN TAKEAWAY ANALYSIS PEtEr WINDSor F1 columnist F 1 Racing can never be boring so long as drivers like Sebastian Vettel climb into weapons like the RB7-Renault, but I guess you could say that the season is getting a tad predictable, what with Seb scoring his eleventh win from 17 races and on this most recent occasion also registering his first Grand Slam (ie, leading every lap from the pole and setting fastest lap). Good job, then, that we had India on which to focus – India, as in the country which, prior to last weekend, had only a smattering of motor racing heritage behind it and whose infrastructure, we know, was never going to lend itself to F1 sticklers. F1 arrived in town not knowing what to expect – fresh from the barren harshness of Korea, nervous that there was still a long way to go. It was perfect, though, in Delhi. The weather at this time of year, when the summer has given way first to the monsoons and then to the milder days of ‘winter’, was warm and breezy; it was hot but not Bahrain-hot – and it was never Malaysia-humid. The people were dignified and kind; and the circuit, given the circumstances, is nothing short of magnificent. It has been built privately by the JayPee Group, although JayPee’s expressway building contracts with the government give it the sort of traction against which very few other ‘private’ F1 race promoters can ever compete. Hermann Tilke worked on the architecture and engineering but did so in harmony with the locals. A gentle question – “could we maybe move a little earth?” – was met with agreeing smiles. And thus the circuit’s elevations were born. Four million cubic feet of hill-building, blind brows and flowing esses. The road surface was a potential problem, for the Indians had only one spreader (compared with the more normal three), which meant that F1’s familiar hot-hot- cold laying sequence had to be radically revised. They worked on the process back in Germany; they tested the experimental surface on a 100m slip-road in India. And so it came to pass: a new, cold-cold- hot surface compound that proved to be as smooth as any on the Grand Prix calendar – right up there, so the drivers would say, with the new surface at Silverstone. Had India inadvertently changed the template VETTEL’S 25