New Delhi: India`s first ever Grand Prix scheduled this October is generating a buzz in a country where cricket remains a dominant sport.
A photography exhibition displaying rare archival photos of Formula One racing dating back to 1957 opened in the national capital recently aiming to create more local interest in the game.
"We hope this Grand Prix will be the tipping point for motorsports in India. This unique country celebrates cricket, even football but the scope for motor sports can also be widened," says Donald Anderson, Country Head, Shell Lubricants, which co hosted the event with automotive company Ferrari.
The auto tech giant is celebrating 60 years of partnership with Ferrari this year.
From the oldest photo, of former Ferrari driver Mike Hawthorn in Ferrari D50 that got him the 1956 world championship title, to that of the team’s mechanics with the current challenger at the 2011 Chinese Grand Prix, the exhibition took viewers through a journey reliving the F1 evolution.
It features photographs of Juan Manuel Fangio in the 1950s, through the hugely-successful Michael Schumacher era onto Fernando Alonso in the current seat.
The collection of 25 photos spanned a lifetime of victories for Ferrari. It shows choicest moments from more than 150 wins by Ferrari and 12 Formula One World Drivers` and 10 World Constructors` Championship Crowns it has won.
Among the archival images on display was Ferrari`s first race win by Jose Froilan Gonzalez at the British Grand prix on 14th July 1951 and a 23rd April 1966 photo of Ferrari`s chairman Enzo Ferrari at the Monza race circuit overseeing testing of a new Ferrari racing car.
A major attraction was an August 2001 photo of Michael Schumacher at the Hungarian Grand prix.
Schumacher has five consecutive drivers` championships and five consecutive constructors` championships under his belt, from 2000 to 2004.
Photos of Fernando Alonso, one of the race drivers for Ferrari team were also a great favorite.
Ian Albiston, Formula One Project Manager termed the photos as "a timeline of developing technology through the ages."
Photos of various models of Ferrari portrayed the evolution of the car through different stages as safety became one of the prime concerns of the manufacturers.
"In the earlier days of the race there was only one in three chances of getting alive. In the early 70`s also fire was a major cause of accidents in the tracks. Now headgears, seat belts and other protective equipments have undergone a sea change," says Albiston.
On the upcoming October event Albiston says, "Everything seems set. Ferrari is all geared up for the grand prix. It will be interesting as there are couple of Indian drivers participating too."
Narain Kartikeyan and Karan Chandhok driving for Hispania and Lotus Renault respectively are expected to participate in the October event.