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Paddock Postcard from India 27 Oct 2013

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Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying, Saturday, 26 October 2013 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 with young fans.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Preparations, Thursday, 24 October 2013 Fernando Alonso's special helmet design for the 2013 Formula 1 Airtel Indian Grand Prix, celebrating his becoming the highest scoring driver in F1 history Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 at the autograph session.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Preparations, Thursday, 24 October 2013 
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice, Friday, 25 October 2013

Its Formula One future may look uncertain (no slot on the 2014 calendar, but hoping to return in 2015), but India always welcomes the F1 fraternity with welcome arms, and this year - the third running of the New Delhi race - is no exception.

Ahead of the 2013 Formula 1 Airtel Indian Grand Prix, Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg was among those trying to give a little something back. On Thursday he spent time with 20 youngsters from the Laureus-supported Magic Bus sport for development project.

“Sport is so effective in inspiring young people and giving them hope for the future,” said Rosberg, an Ambassador for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. “Nowhere is this more true than in India where so many children have to struggle from the day they are born.”

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso arrived in India with a special helmet design to celebrate becoming the highest points scorer in Formula One history at the last round in Japan. The magic number ‘1571’ features heavily in the design, along with the words ‘F1 points World Record’. There is also a thank you to his fans in three languages (English, French and Italian), all on top of an unusual white background.

McLaren’s Jenson Button has also amended his helmet design this weekend, but for slightly more sombre reasons. His features a picture of another driver’s helmet - that of the late Porsche Supercup racer Sean Edwards, who was tragically killed in an accident at Australia’s Queensland Raceway last week. The 26-year-old Briton, leader of this year’s Supercup series, was a passenger in a car that hit the barriers during a private test session.

The Buddh International Circuit paddock has been busy all weekend with a host of national celebrities, the most famous of whom was India’s greatest cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, the ‘Master Blaster’, who was much in evidence at Force India.

There were also many familiar faces in the MRF Challenge support races, for 2-litre Renault-powered Dallara single seaters. Saturday’s race saw FR3.5 racer Arthur Pic lead home Marussia Manor GP3 front-runner Tio Ellinas by 0.558s after 10 laps. Former Formula BMW racer Rupert Svendsen-Cook set a string of fastest laps early on, on his way to fifth place just ahead of Sean Walkinshaw, while Sam Brabham recovered from a spin which restricted him to14th on the grid to take 11th with world championship kart racer and Caterham motorsport organiser Laura Tillett having her first single-seater race in a year to finish 13th. GP3 racer Ryan Cullen was out of luck, failing to finish, as did F3 racer Harry Tincknell.

For more pictures from New Delhi, check out our Paddock Postcard gallery.

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