Who could have imagined a name like that?! So classic. So unique. And so perfectly exotic in what still remains essentially a European sport. The circuit, we hope, is our first step to change that.
There is no large Buddha statue looming at the entrance, however, nor red sandstone walls with minarets and turbaned horse-mounted guards staring down at you. Instead, there are vast open desert-like spaces.
Really vast spaces with new age materials and structures that are foreign to our land. Serpentine guard rails and swooping grass lawns greet you from the moment you turn off the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway towards the Yamuna Expressway.
In the distance the main Grandstand is visible. It rests like a spaceship. Hovering over tiny mortal beings. A strange shape etched by German modern-era-race-track designer, Hermann Tilke.
Nothing about it reflects India’s diverse culture unlike the hibiscus inspired design in Sepang, Malaysia or the Bedouin tent inspired towers in Bahrain.
But it does symbolize opulence in a Grand stand sort of way. Tickets to this stand cost thirty five thousand INR for the race weekend!
We duck into a tunnel that burrows under the Grand Prix calendar’s longest straight where champions Vettel and Co. are expected to reach a staggering 320kmph braking down to a mere 90kmph! This is between Turns 3 and 4. The tunnel leads to the main paddock parking.