It appears Felipe Massa had an impact on the BIC, beyond anything he could have imagines when he retired from the inaugural 2011 Indian GP with broken left suspension after hitting a kerb. Some drivers have corners or grandstands named after them but it appears the first kerb in F1 to be named will be the new ‘Massa kerb’ at turn 8, says the BIC.
Its fascinating when F1 returns to a new circuit for the first time following its inaugural event. All kinds of snagging is required after the first race and no wonder when the entire facility is often only finally completed a couple of weeks before the F1 circus arrives.
Korea was no exception. The pit lane entrance and exit were so badly conceived by Tilke that for year 2 the FIA took an unprecidented step by deploying a set of traffic lights at the exit of the pit lane to prevent cars re-joining the track in the path of others approaching turn 1 at high-speed. The pit lane entrance was also redesigned because the final turn was a blind apex, taken flat out but the problem was the drivers couldn’t see in advance those cars slowing to enter the pit lane – a highly dangerous situation. For year 2 the entrance was moved but even this wasn’t sufficient and prior to this years event the final corner was flattened to give better visibility for the drivers as the entered the curve.
The BIC is no exception. Whilst not in need of the drastic changes made in Korea, a number of tweaks have been made. Ferrari were not happy about the ‘Massa kerb’ suggesting it was too high, but the kerb was only 25mm tall and within the FIA regulated maximum height. All the kerbs have now been equalised in height at 25mm to give the drivers a more consistent feel through all the corners.
The problem in reality was that the drivers were trying to take shortcuts across the kerbs in turns 8-9, so the organisers with FIA approval have widened the track here from 5m to 15m to allow the drivers more space beyond the apex to complete the turn.
Yet to ensure the drivers do not cut the kerbs this year, the in vogue style sausage kerbs have been implemented at these corners. We’ll see whether this meets with the drivers’ approval or not.
Astroturf has been added on the outside of turns 2-3 and 7-8 replacing what was just dried mud in an attempt to give the drivers a more consistent experience should they partially run wide. Let’s hope they use stronger glue than in Korea!
The racegoers should have a far better experience this year as 6 huge new video screens have been added taking the total around the track to 17.
Walkways that were hard ground have been paved and substantial grassy banks have been added in an attempt to create wind breaks and capture the dust blown across the circuit by the wind. Yet the BIC reports today that the track is very dusty, a problem a number of the new circuits have faced.
A fleet of new track sweepers that utilise a water mist spray system have been deployed for the past 2 weeks in an attempt to scrub the racing surface clean and this battle will continue right up to the race weekend.
The not so good news for the race organisers is the fact that a mere 4,400 single race day tickets starting at £25 ($38) have been sold so far, and most of these were apparently bought the day after Schumacher announced his retirement. For most in New Delhi, the government prescribed minimum wage a day is around $5.
Sources: The Times of India, Wikipedia
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