“If you’d have come here 10 days ago, you’d have been shocked by what you saw.” This piece of information came from the driver who was ferrying us to the racetrack for the inauguration of the Buddh International Circuit.
The man momentarily managed to add to the apprehension that the world has been feeling about how the first-ever Indian Grand Prix will run. But then, he hastily adds that there is nothing to worry about any more. Reason: every employee in every Jaypee Group company has been called on board to ensure things get done in time.
From ensuring the barren land around the track began sprouting grass, to making sure the medical teams and facilities are in place, security requirements are met and every other technicality is dealt with before a crisis arises, the team has been working round the clock.
While the tickets to the first-ever Indian Grand Prix have been selling fairly well – the company has already recorded 70 per cent sales of grandstand seats and 90 per cent of the Platinum Box seats have already been booked according to Sameer Gaur, MD and CEO of JPSI – a major concern still lingers among people: will the facility be state-of-the-art?
After all, the recent past has seen the newer F1 tracks having had trouble filling seats like at the Bahrain GP, while the inaugural Korean GP had its fair share of technical glitches.
But the JPSI team seems confident that things will run smoothly. The grand stands are in place, the pitlane already has the names of the drivers above their respective garages and a state of the art media centre is nearly up and running.
Infrastructure aside, the success of the event will lie on whether or not things run smoothly on the race weekend. This is down to man power and people management.
On the one hand, there are F1 marshals who have been trained thoroughly by FIA-appointed delegates and officials who run the Bahrain GP. Then, there is the medical team who have also been trained in how to react in time, efficiently and effectively enough for race conditions – right from how to extract a driver from the car, to ensuring (if need be) the driver is treated in the fully functional operation theatre before being airlifted to a medical facility outside the track.
In terms of crowd control and security, 3,000 police personnel have been appointed both at track and at locations where the drivers will be staying.
Building this state-of-the-art facility has cost the Jaypee Group $200 million for construction alone. The cost goes up to $ 400 million if the license fees and the other aspects are taken into account.
The facility has employed 5,000 labourers over the last two-and-a-half years in addition to over 300 engineers and officials. And in addition to the many guests of Bernie Ecclestone, approximately 3,000 ticket-buying foreigners are expected to watch as the five red lights go out at the Indian GP.
Those are just the numbers involved. The question is, will the Indian GP live up to the sheer adrenaline rush that goes with everything related to the pinnacle of motorsport? The 30th of October 2011 holds those very answers. For now, things are looking good.
The trip for this story was organised by Jaypee group