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Pre-India analysis - drivers ready to relish voyage of discovery 28 Oct 2011

Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP signs autographs for local school children.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Preparations, Thursday, 27 October 2011 (L to R): Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari and Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Preparations, Thursday, 27 October 2011 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren with paintings by local school children.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Preparations, Thursday, 27 October 2011 Final corner.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Preparations, Thursday, 27 October 2011 (L to R): Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing with Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Preparations, Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Buddh International Circuit, home of the inaugural Indian Grand Prix has thus far met with strong approval ahead of Friday morning’s first practice session.

Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher led the praise when he said: “I think they have done a very nice job here. It looks very interesting. Just seen the safety car running around and saw the elevation change, some blind spots, so quite a bit of a challenge for us with high and low speed corners, good overtaking, so a good mixture of all that we like to enjoy ourselves on so I look forward to drive the car. That’s the real feeling. That’s the only thing that really tells you how you feel about it.”

One of the blind spots the seven-time champion referred to is the entry to Turn Three. “It’s a new sort of philosophy with this overtaking with getting the circuits very wide at the entry as we have the one line defend mechanism,” Schumacher continued, “so if you go that far certainly the other guy choosing the outside line can take a good run at you at the end of the straight. It offers a good tactical perspective for overtaking, for having a good show, and hopefully making the Indian fans enjoy Formula One this weekend.”

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa was also enthused. “I think it is very nice, I am enjoying being here in India and also to see the circuit. It is pretty interesting with all these hairpins with very wide braking points, where you can choose two different lines. I think that is very interesting for overtaking and everything, so I think it will be a nice circuit.”

Homeboy Narain Karthikeyan added his opinion and said: “I never thought in my racing career that I would be racing in India and here we are just around the corner. The circuit is wide in some places, I’m sure lots of different lines you are going to see, lots of overtaking. It’s definitely a very challenging circuit, with lots of run-off areas and so on, so they have done a very good job, no doubt.”

The only discordant note came from Karun Chandhok, who has been very disappointed not to get a race ride with Lotus. He’ll be doing just this morning’s session for the team.

“It's bit like Santa Claus has given me a present in the morning but I have to give it back in the morning. Everyone knows how I feel, but the professional thing to do is to be a team player, keep smiling and do the best job that I can with the opportunities that I'm given.”

Chandhok said he will sit down with owner Tony Fernandes to discuss his future with the team. “That's something that we need to do away from the track. We'll discuss it. I'd like to still work with him because I believe that he is committed to building up Asian talent and Asian drivers. We'll see what the future holds.”

The FIA have reverted to a double DRS zone for the race. The first detection zone is 10 metres after Turn 15, with activation 36 metres after Turn 16 so drivers have part of the shorter straight for overtaking attempts. The second, and more significant, has its detection zone 16 metres before Turn Three and activation 510 metres that corner, to give them more than half of the kilometre-long main straight.

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