• Indian Grand Prix - Paper Round

Great weekend, forgettable race

ESPNF1 Staff
October 31, 2011 « Parr coy on Raikkonen rumours | Formula One labels India a success »

Much had been written about the Indian Grand Prix in the weeks ahead of the inaugural race, but in the event most of the post-race headlines concentrated on what was a fairly uneventful afternoon. But one or two newspapers did look back at the weekend as a whole ...

In the Times, Kevin Eason bemoaned what was a low-key debut. "India used up its allowance of fireworks celebrating Diwali, the nation's biggest religious holiday, and all Formula One could find to bring to India's new temple of motor racing was a damp squib. This was the first grand prix on Indian soil, a glittering, boisterous mix of Bollywood meets European glamour. If only the race had lived up to billing and provided some of the same drama that lights up the cinema screens in this vast, populous nation."

Tom Cary in the Daily Telegraph was more upbeat. "It would be wrong to give a negative impression of what was a truly unique race weekend. The consensus, as Formula One packed up its wares and headed for Indira Gandhi airport, or the Lady Gaga gig in downtown Delhi, was that India had more than earned the right to label its maiden grand prix a qualified success.

"The local colour, the enthusiasm of staff and volunteers, the undeniable ambition of the organisers and, of course, the track itself, which was praised to the rafters by the drivers, more than making up for the whiff of chaos which pervaded proceedings; the design flaws in the paddock, the issues of transportation and timing."

On the BBC website, commentator Martin Brundle said it has been "a major success as an event". He continued: "The sheer energy, colour and vibrancy of the city of Delhi and the Buddh International Circuit were something to behold. It takes a day or two to adjust to India. The air is rather too smoggy, the chaos and lack of discipline on the roads is frankly terrifying - and I am not easily scared - and cleanliness is clearly not a priority. But somehow it all works."

In the Daily Express, Bob Mckenzie wrote that while the race was not "the all-singing, all-dancing spectacular that F1 wanted, it was enough to launch the sport to a market of 1.2 billion people".

The Times of India, in no mood for a shy or retiring lead, headlined its front page "Vettel wins, world raises toast to India" before slamming critics. "[The race] was a tribute to India and a rejection of the views held by the cynics at home and abroad who had, at every stage, doubted the nation's ability to host a Formula One grand prix."