F1: Indian GP On Track... Barely Photo:

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Tony O'Kane | Oct, 19 2011 | 2 Comments

Chief organiser Sameer Gaur on Tuesday insisted the new Buddh circuit is right on track to host next weekend's inaugural Indian Grand Prix.

With last year's shambolic Korean Grand Prix still in memory, coupled with Delhi's problematic hosting of the Commonwealth Games, there has been concerns the Indian capital is struggling to get its new venue ready for F1.

The track was launched to the media on Tuesday, nine days before the formula one circus will convene ahead of free practice.

Construction workers were still scurrying about, the track surface was dusty and the main grandstand is not yet complete.

But promoter Jaypee's Gaur is not worried.

"We are cleaning the track twice a day but since the work on the stands is still taking place, the dust gets on to the track. Once the work on the stands is over, the circuit can be taken care of," he is quoted by the Indo-Asian news agency.

"Today was an important day. There is no concern as of now, whatever little needs to be done to spruce up the place will be completed in seven days," he added.



Angry farmers still threaten Indian GP

Less than two weeks before the inaugural Indian Grand Prix is scheduled to take place, disgruntled farmers are still threatening to disrupt it.

They are angry that their land was acquired compulsorily without adequate compensation to make way for the new Buddh circuit.

According to the Hindustan Times, they have written to a regional official this week reminding him that if their demands are not met, they will push ahead with protests aimed at disrupting formula one.

"There's nothing alarming. There's no threat to the race," a senior official of race organisers Jaypee insisted.

"A lot rides on the event and the farmers are only trying to browbeat the organisers and the administration," he added.

A regional official warned: "If any group tries to disrupt the proceedings of the race, we will deal with them in an appropriate manner."

According to the Indian Express, some farmers are threatening to play cricket on the asphalt on the day of qualifying, and then step up the protest to "stop the race altogether" on Sunday.

"We want to hold a sports tournament, to show the world our grievance. We don't want to cause trouble, but our voices must be heard," a spokesman for the farmers' group said.

Another farmer added:

"We will try and stop the race at all costs as it represents the injustice that we have suffered.

"We have heard that the foreign (F1) cars will be arriving between October 18 and 20. We intend to stop them from entering the circuit."



Ferrari backs Red Bull as FOTA cracks deepen

Ferrari has joined Red Bull in questioning the viability of the F1 teams alliance FOTA.

Amid fears some teams are breaking the gentleman's cost-limiting agreement and faltering talks in Korea, Red Bull chief Christian Horner said the group needs to shape up "or we'll stop".

According to a French language report by the AFP news agency, his Ferrari counterpart Stefano Domenicali also has grave concerns.

"In terms of the cost cutting (disagreement), we can no longer afford to continue like this," said the Italian, referring to the burgeoning debate.

"If there is no trust, there is no need to go forward," added Domenicali.

"We know why FOTA was put together so we need to understand whether we still need it. What are the objectives for the future of FOTA, if it has a future?"

The news of the fracturing alliance will be music to the ears of Bernie Ecclestone, who would prefer to negotiate separately with the teams as F1 looks towards its next Concorde Agreement.



Korea GP hopes Hyundai enters F1

Korean carmaker Hyundai could become interested in F1 in coming years.

That is the view of a spokesman for the Korean Grand Prix, following the country's second F1 race last weekend.

The inaugural 2010 event was a shambles and circuit officials recently revealed financial concerns about the future of the event.

Late on Sunday, the Yeongam organisers revealed a race day crowd of 84,174, causing Red Bull's official Twitter to wittily observe: "That must include mosquitos. And fish. And those were counted twice."

A report by the Associated Press claims a Korean driver or team might help in the future, powered by the involvement of a local carmaker like Hyundai or Kia.

"Hyundai has been enthusiastic about the idea around the middle management levels, but the CEO has yet to be convinced," said Korean Grand Prix spokesman Shin Young.

"In the future though, I think it will happen. I hope so."


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