This weekend will see the third – and hopefully not the last – running of the Indian Grand Prix, which takes a break from the 2014 calendar before hopefully making a comeback the following year.
But the focus on Sunday will be on whether Fernando Alonso can deny Sebastian Vettel a fourth successive World Championship crown, with the German simply needing to finish fifth or better to claim the title.
2013 FORMULA 1 AIRTEL INDIAN GRAND PRIX
|Date:||25-27 October 2013|
|Venue:||Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India|
|Race Lap Record:||1:27.249, Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing Renault RB7) – 2011|
|Event Schedule:||Free Practice Session 1||Fri 10:00-11:30|
|Free Practice Session 2||Fri 14:00-15:30|
|Free Practice Session 3||Sat 11:00-12:00|
|Race (60 laps, 307.249km)||Sun 15:00-17:00|
|Past Ten Winners:||Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing Renault RB8)*||2012|
|Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing Renault RB7)*||2011|
* Denotes victory from pole position
All event times are quoted in Indian Standard Time (GMT +5:30).
Through the emergence of drivers such as Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok – as well as the presence of the Force India team – Formula 1 has built a considerable and ever-growing fan base in India.
And with a potential market of over one billion local fans, it was a logical next step to stage a Grand Prix in the subcontinent.
After years of preparation and planning, it all came together at the Hermann Tilke designed 5.1-kilometre circuit located about an hour’s drive out of the country’s capital, Delhi.
On paper, it’s typical Tilke fare: long straights funnelling into tight corners to promote overtaking. On paper, the layout didn’t look particularly heart-stopping, but Tilke took some inspiration from his successful Turkish design to add some great elevation changes to the mix.
The drivers raved about it and with even more work having gone into the venue over the last two years – as we exclusively profiled on our website – the circuit just looks better and better.
Let’s take a look at our Buddh International Circuit Guide:
India Stat Attack
Here are some fast facts about this year’s Indian Grand Prix:
The Indian Grand Prix has been run twice previously at New Delhi’s Buddh International Circuit, in 2011 and 2012.
Sebastian Vettel has dominated proceedings in Formula One racing’s two previous visits to the venue: he’s claimed pole on both occasions and won both races. He has also led every single lap in Indian Grand Prix history – all 120 of them!
Vettel scored the first of his four career Grand Chelems (pole, fastest lap, race win, led every lap) at the inaugural Indian Grand Prix in 2011.
Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren are the only teams to have scored podiums in India.
Two Indian drivers have started a world championship Grand Prix: Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok. This will be the first Indian Grand Prix without an Indian driver on the grid.
If Ferrari gets either car into the points in India they’ll match McLaren’s record of scoring points in 64 consecutive races.
Felipe Massa will make his 188th Grand Prix race start on Sunday, moving him to seventeenth on the all-time starters list, ahead of Nigel Mansell.
The Form Guide
While Sebastian Vettel didn’t quite manage to get the job done last time out in Japan, he’s all but certain to secure his fourth World Championship crown this weekend if he finishes fifth or better.
Given Vettel has led every lap in the Indian Grand Prix’s two-year history and claimed both pole positions here to-date, few would be brave to bet against him claiming a hat trick on the subcontinent.
While the mathematical calculations are a little more complex, Red Bull Racing can also win a fourth Constructors’ Championship crown this weekend, even if they don’t manage to win the race.
On current form, the Milton Keynes team looks an unbackable favourite to dominate this weekend, and it will take a supreme performance from a rival team to topple them from their perch.
Perhaps their greatest challenge this weekend will come from the Lotus camp and the ever-improving Romain Grosjean, who delivered one of the best performances of his career last time out in Japan, leading the early stages after a terrific start before finishing a solid third.
His teammate Kimi Räikkönen has continued his consistent form – although less so in qualifying, where he has struggled since Pirelli’s tyre construction was changed mid-season – and is locked in a close battle for third place in the Drivers’ Championship standings with Lewis Hamilton. The Finn currently has 177 points to the Englishman’s 161, but we all know that Lewis Hamilton is a fighter.
The Enstone squad has made terrific strides of late, outscoring Mercedes and Ferrari in Japan to move to within striking distance of their battle for second place in the Constructors’ Championship standings. The Scuderia currently have 297 points to the Silver Arrows’ 287, with Lotus still in the mix on 264.
Miles back in fifth place lies McLaren, which has slowly and steadily stretched its points gap to Force India, which will be hoping it can score points at its home race.
Both outfits could be in play for the lower points’ positions, but once again Sauber will be threatening to do major damage, with the team still riding high after its first double-points finish of the season at Suzuka, having claimed 38 points in the last four races alone.
Pirelli will be bringing softer compounds than it did last year in a bid to provide more strategic variations, with its hopes of producing two-stop strategies for the field. In use this weekend will be the P Zero White Medium and Yellow Soft tyres.
The Buddh circuit itself has no major changes, with two DRS zones being in place as was the case in 2012. The first DRS zone along the long back straight has been extended slightly, with its activation brought forward to 350 metres after Turn 3. The second zone’s detection point is 10 metres after Turn 15, with the activation point 36 metres after Turn 16 before it continues along the start/finish straight.
Don’t forget to enter your F1 Predictions!
This weekend’s round of our 2013 RichardsF1.com F1 Predictions Competition is now open for business, and you can enter and edit your predictions for the 2013 Indian Formula 1 Grand Prix right up until five minutes before qualifying!
Entry is open to all of our readers, and it’s so easy to submit your predictions! All you’ll need to do is correctly guess:
- which driver will win pole position and the race
- which two teams will earn the best finishes in the race
- which eight drivers will finish in the top-eight positions
- who will post the fastest lap of the race
- who will gain the most positions relative to their starting position
You can also choose to ‘double up’ your points tally for the Indian Grand Prix – but be careful, you can only do this twice per season and you have just four races left to do so!
To view the current points standings, click here.
To enter your 2013 Indian Grand Prix Predictions, click here.
This weekend, RichardsF1.com will be bringing you the best of the on- and off-track action on the ground in New Delhi, so make sure we’re your first port of call for your Indian Grand Prix fix!