Buddh International Circuit - Still Waiting to Shine in Full Splendor
Buddh International Circuit is the best racing venue in India, which could also become one of the most popular motorsport facilities in the world.
Originally, the track was named Jaypee International Circuit after its owners, but in April 2011, it was renamed to its current name after the area where the venue is located, Gautam Buddh Nagar district, which is also known as Greater Noida.
Video : A lap around Buddh International Circuit in an F1 car
Similar to, yet different from any other modern track
This 120.000 capacity circuit, with a plan of expanding to 200.000, was built 40 kilometers from Delhi in the state of Uttar Pradesh in 2011. This really impressive venue was designed by the German architect Herrman Tilke who designed almost all modern Formula 1 circuits all over the world. The costs of the construction were estimated at $400 million.
Elevation changes at Buddh International Circuit
The track was opened in October 2011, only two weeks before the first Formula 1 race was held on the Indian subcontinent. The first impressions of both drivers and guests were really good. The track itself is 5.14 km long and has 16 turns. The track has many changes in elevation, providing a lot of opportunities for overtaking. The surface of the track is asphalt-concrete with greywacke aggregate that was shipped from England.
Sadly, by the end of 2015, only three Formula Grand Prix races were held at Buddh International Circuit, from 2011 to 2013. Interestingly, Sebastian Vettel, the driver of Red Bull Racing team at the time, won all three races. The German also holds the lap record time of 1:27.249.
The Indian track was one of drivers’ favorite
Drivers were delighted with the new circuit, describing it as fast and exciting, but also quite demanding, with high-speed straights and challenging turns. Many of the drivers compared Buddh International Circuit with the legendary Spa-Francorchamps, saying the two are very similar in terms of both track and terrain configuration.
Big roller coaster similar to old tracks
The four-time Formula 1 World champion Sebastian Vettel described the track as a big roller coaster, while the three-time champion Lewis Hamilton said that the difference between Buddh International Circuit and other modern tracks is that the Indian track has more in common with older legendary tracks.
Plenty of non-racing facilities
The Buddh International Circuit is not just a racing venue, it’s a part of the huge Jaypee Green Sports City which also has an 18-hole golf course, big field hockey stadium and a sports academy. There are also leisure facilities like the Grand Plaza, as well as open areas suitable for concerts, exhibitions, trade shows and other non-racing events.
In 2011, just a couple of weeks after the first Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit was awarded the ’Motorsport Facility of the Year’ and also was honored twice with the ’Best Promoter Trophy’.
Sudden disappearance from the Formula 1 calendar
The future looked bright for this charming venue but a turnaround happened in late 2013. The FIA decided to drop the Indian Grand Prix from the 2014 calendar and later was left out of the racing calendar due to a tax dispute with the government of Uttar Pradesh and bureaucratic complications. There were some plans for the return in 2016, but the things remained the same, and it is still uncertain whether Formula 1 will return to India in the foreseeable future.
Fees and taxes, just as safety concerns of the teams are the main reason why other racing series are still waiting to make their debut at this exciting circuit. The FIA GT1 World Series was prepared to host its season finale at the circuit in 2012, but it got cancelled, and so was the World Superbike Championship a year later.
Address: Jaypee Sports City, Yamuna Expressway, Sector-25, YEIDA, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh 203201, India
Phone: +91 120 442 9498
Official website: buddhinternationalcircuit.in