New Delhi: The circuit for next year’s Indian Grand Prix will test the drivers, organisers of the Formula One race said on Friday.
The 5.14 km track with 16 corners and a variety of elevations would not be easy to master, Mark Hughes, vice president (operations) of Jaypee Sports International (JPSI), which is building the track near New Delhi, told reporters.
“It will be one of the fastest circuits and will be a great challenge for the drivers,” Hughes said of the circuit which will host the Indian Grand Prix on Oct. 30 next year.
“It was a flat land and we moved some four million cubic tons of earth to bring in elevation which can be up to 14 metres. The drivers are all excited.”
Hughes said inputs of some of the Formula One teams, which he would not name, were incorporated while designing the track.
“The initial design was shared with some teams who put it in their simulator and the drivers gave a positive feedback.
“Based on that, we made changes to some corners and sent it back to them to try it on simulator. They told us it was a very good track.”
“So far, (Hispania driver) Karun Chandhok has visited the track but over the next 12 months, we will invite some other Formula One drivers. (Force India chairman) Vijay (Mallya) is interested too as it would be their home track.”
The Indian Grand Prix is subject to homologation but Hughes was confident that the facility would pass the final inspection by the International Automobile Federation (FIA) next year.
“The homologation process will start in May. The FIA has approved the initial design and in May, they would come to see if the track matches the design or needs minor tweaking.
“If they suggest minor changes, it may take 4-5 weeks and homologation in that case would be over in July.”
Boris Lazaric, who is in charge of the construction work, said the facility would accommodate 100,000-plus spectators.
“The main grandstand will house 20,000, the temporary grandstands will accommodate 70,000, while another 5000-6000 can sit in the pit building.
“Besides, there will be three natural grandstands, which are basically hillocks where people can sit and watch.”
JPSI Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Sameer Gaur said tickets would be affordable.
“We are also looking at options of how we can make best use of the facility outside the race dates. It will not be limited to Formula One for sure. We are in touch with other motorsports bodies and companies to see if we can utilise the track for those events,” Gaur said.