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India preview quotes - Ferrari, FIA, Renault, Force India & more 27 Oct 2011

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Saturday, 15 October 2011 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 14 October 2011 Charlie Whiting (GBR) FIA Delegate.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 14 October 2011 Bruno Senna (BRA) Lotus Renault GP.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Suzuka, Japan, Saturday, 8 October 2011 Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Lotus Renault GP.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 14 October 2011 James Allison (GBR) Lotus Renault GP Technical Director is interviewed by Ted Kravitz (GBR) BBC Television Pitlane Reporter. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice Day, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 23 Sept Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Race, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 16 October 2011 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 14 October 2011 Dr. Vijay Mallya (IND) Force India F1 Team Owner on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 11 September 2011 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Team Lotus.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Saturday, 15 October 2011 Jarno Trulli (ITA) Team Lotus.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Japanese Grand Prix, Preparations, Suzuka, Japan, Thursday, 6 October 2011 Karun Chandhok (IND) Team Lotus Reserve driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Japanese Grand Prix, Preparations, Suzuka, Japan, Thursday, 6 October 2011 Tony Fernandes (MAL) Team Lotus GP Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, European Grand Prix, Race Day, Valencia, Spain, Sunday, 26 June 2011 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Williams. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Preparations, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Thursday, 13 October 2011 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Saturday, 15 October 2011 Mark Gillan (GBR) Williams F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Suzuka, Japan, Friday, 7 October 2011 Timo Glock (GER) Virgin Racing. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Saturday, 15 October 2011 Jerome d'Ambrosio (BEL) Virgin Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Suzuka, Japan, Friday, 7 October 2011 John Booth (GBR) Virgin Racing Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 14 October 2011 Paul Hembery (GBR) Pirelli Motorsport Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Preparations, Monza, Italy, Thursday, 8 September 2011 Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT Formula 1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 14 October 2011 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) HRT Formula One Team. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Saturday, 15 October 2011 Colin Kolles (GER) Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT) Team .
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 11 June 2011 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 14 October 2011 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 14 October 2011 Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Saturday, 15 October 2011 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Saturday, 15 October 2011 James Key (GBR) Sauber Technical Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 11 June 2011 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Race Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 16 October 2011 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Preparations, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Thursday, 13 October 2011 Martin Whitmarsh (GBR) McLaren Chief Executive Officer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 14 October 2011 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Saturday, 15 October 2011 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Saturday, 15 October 2011

If there's one thing the Formula One paddock loves, it’s a challenge, and the inaugural India race is set to be one of the biggest challenges of the season. Newly built, the Buddh International Circuit is a real unknown quantity. And while all will have studied the circuit map and sampled it on a simulator, they are yet to experience the New Delhi track for real. The drivers and team personnel reveal their preparations...

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari
“I am very excited to be here, a new circuit is a new challenge from a driver’s point of view. This circuit looks very interesting, especially the last sector, which is very different and quick, allowing for good flowing speed to be used. Normally, with a new track, we find the real thing is better than the simulator. I hope we get a good first impression in tomorrow’s practice. It is also my first time in India and it is always nice to discover a new country and to see Formula One in a new culture for a new audience. Hopefully, we can put on a good show for them on Sunday.”

Felipe Massa, Ferrari
“In the preparation for the Grand Prix of India, I spent a day on the simulator to get a general impression of the track and I’ve also got the latest version of the 2011 Formula One computer game that features this circuit, which means I at least have a feel for it and know where the corners are. First impressions are that it is a nice track and it has some similarities to the last venue in Yeongam, in that it has a long straight and many different types of corner from very fast to very slow hairpins with several changes of gradient too. However, that’s where comparisons to Korea end as it should be much hotter this weekend and also because we will run the soft and hard tyres from Pirelli, historically not the ideal choice for the 150° Italia. I hope that we have made some progress in this area and that we can get a good result. Like I said, it will be my first time in India and I love discovering new places, so I am convinced it will be a very interesting week. The Indian people love sport and I am sure there will be a lot of local interest in the Grand Prix, in Formula One and in racing in general. I have enjoyed spending a few days here in Sao Paolo with my family, relaxing and training, but now I am keen to get going again, to discover a new circuit and to see if I can secure a good result with just three races left to go this year.”

Charlie Whiting, FIA race director
“It’s new territory here, so to a great extent we don’t know what to expect, which makes things exciting. Having said that, we do know that the circuit will be fast and that it’s been built to the very highest standards. It looks like being an excellent race and we have two DRS zones, with two activation points on the circuit, which should make it quite interesting. We’re also confident that everything is well under control with regard to marshalling. The marshals here have had a period of intensive training for the last year and this year there will be between 160-170 marshals from the Bahrain GP who will be fulfilling their usual tasks as well as providing a mentoring role for the local marshals. The clerk of the course is also a Bahraini and he will have an Indian deputy, who we hope next year will be clerk of the course proper. The training and support will continue over the next two years with the aim of the local marshals being completely self-sufficient in time for the third Indian GP. Access to the race should be helped by the motorway access road that should be open in time for the race.”

Bruno Senna, Renault
“India will be a complete voyage into the unknown, as no one has ever raced there before. We do not yet know how the car is likely to perform, though looking at the track layout it should suit us quite well, and we can expect to be up amongst the mix in the top 10; although we need to remain careful at this stage. From the maps I have seen, it looks to be a fast, flowing track that suits my style of driving so I am looking forward to racing there. It will be a test of who learns fastest. I think that whichever teams can extract the maximum from their cars in the short period of time that we are there will benefit most.

“(India’s) a country that loves its sport, and we have seen new sports events take place there recently such as the Commonwealth Games; I’ve no doubt it will be an interesting Grand Prix, with a completely different culture from anything I have seen before and I think Karun Chandhok is going to show me around - it’s always good to have a local as your guide so I’m enthusiastic to get out there.”

Vitaly Petrov, Renault
“It will be quite challenging for the teams and drivers because it is a new track where no-one has raced before. That was the same story in Korea two years ago so I know it’s quite a tricky scenario. I have prepared in many ways and racing in India will be a refreshing challenge. As a new circuit, it is a level playing field for everyone.

“It is a good challenge for drivers as you never know what to expect. Sometimes the car will be very good straight out of the box, sometimes not, so it’s difficult to know what will happen until you complete your first laps. When I saw the layout of the circuit I said it would be quite difficult, but for the last two races we have shown good performance even if we didn’t always achieve the results we were capable of.

“We will arrive a little earlier than we would for a circuit we already know. Regrettably, I am starting with a five position penalty, due to the incident with Michael (Schumacher) in Korea, so I will have to be right at the top of my game.”

Eric Boullier, Renault team principal
“With an Indian Formula One team and an Indian driver - in Karun Chandhok - in the sport, a race was always the next logical step. It is a big country; a promising, powerful nation that is at the forefront of a lot of global activity. India is also a country that loves its sport. It is definitely a good thing to have a Formula One race in a new, emerging world economy, and for this sport to consider itself global it is important to bring the show to new territories. Taking F1 to India is a positive step for both the sport and the country. I’m thoroughly looking forward to taking the team racing there.

“We, the team principals, have been updated regularly about the facilities by Bernie (Ecclestone) himself. It is always difficult to judge by pictures alone, but it appears to be a very promising facility with a strong, suitable infrastructure and I’m sure we will have a great event there. I, for one, am excited about it as it will be deviating from the F1 norm, and I’ve little doubt it will be a great experience all round. Let’s hope we can take a good result from the weekend too.”

James Allison, Renault technical director
“There are lots of tasks that can be well simulated prior to arriving at a brand new circuit. Conventional lap simulation can give us a good idea of items such as: optimal gear ratio selection, which rear wing to fit, what springs and ride heights to fit, fuel consumption, cooling levels, DRS effectiveness etc. Although much preparatory work has been done, there will remain several areas where the team can only really react once we start running in anger. For example: grip level of the tarmac, effect of track bumpiness on the optimal suspension setup, tyre degradation etc. To give you an example, a three-percent variation in the asphalt grip would lead to one-second difference on the lap time.

“The track is a conventional downforce circuit with a decent array of cornering speeds and a sensible length main straight. At one level all tracks are sort of the same, with similar straights and corners. However, the real character of a track only really unfolds once you start to run on it. This track looks like it offers a range of challenges to the drivers and I am sure it will prove to be popular.”

Adrian Sutil, Force India
“I’ve been with this team since the beginning and seen the progress we have made together, so it’s a proud moment to be starting the Indian Grand Prix with the only Indian team. I’m sure sitting on the grid will feel a bit different and I will always remember this race. I think based on our recent performances we go to Delhi believing we can score points, and we need to do that to strengthen our position in the championship. We can dream of a podium, but we also have to be realistic. There should be massive support for the team and it would be the icing on the cake if we can give everybody a special result to celebrate.”

Paul Di Resta, Force India
“Obviously this is a massive race for us in a very special place. It’s the first race for India, taking Formula One to a new culture, and a great opportunity for us to put on a great show for the fans. When you consider what Dr. Mallya has already done by creating an Indian team, this is the next step to really put Formula One on the map in India. We did a simulator session last week, but because it’s a brand new track there are still a lot of unknowns and question marks about the characteristics of the track. The layout looks interesting and the good thing for me is that it’s a new track for everyone to learn. Getting up to speed will be key and the grip will build up throughout the weekend, but as long as we find a good balance by Saturday we should be okay. We will go there and do our maximum. Obviously each race is important because the same number of points are on offer, but there’s no denying that a strong result in the team’s home race would feel special for all of us. So there will be a lot of attention on us, but we will go there ready to fight and grab some more points.”

Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India chairman and team principal
“I have been involved in motor racing for over 30 years and it’s one of my greatest passions. I brought the first Formula One car over to India in the 1980s and it was always a dream of mine to one day see this great nation host a Grand Prix. So this weekend is a very significant moment and I’m extremely proud. It’s a major step forward for Indian motorsport and for sport in general in our country. We are all looking forward to it immensely. This is a very important weekend for Force India and we are all determined to be as competitive as possible. I want to savour every moment of what will surely be one of the most spectacular events of the season and the start of a great Formula One tradition in India.”

Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus
“I think India is going to be a fascinating race, for us and F1 in general. I suspect we are going to be given an incredible welcome, and to be able to race on a brand new circuit is always an interesting challenge, so whatever happens in the race I think it will be a great week for the whole sport. After Singapore I went back to Europe to do a day in the simulator to get used to the track, and it looks cool. There’s the obvious overtaking zone at the end of the long straight and then a few pretty standard medium speed corners but I think the main challenge for us is going to be finding a balance that suits the demands of Turns 10 to T13, which is quick, and the haripins at Turn Three, Turn Four and Turn 16. We won’t know anything about tyre degradation until we get out there, but whatever happens it’s going to be hot, probably a bit mad, but seriously good. I can’t wait!”

Jarno Trulli, Lotus
“I’ve obviously been to a lot of new circuits throughout my F1 career but I’m looking forward to India more than most. I’ll do my usual cycle around the track on Thursday and have a close look at the circuit, and when I get in the car I’m usually up to speed within four or five laps. We’ll run similar downforce levels to the Korea / Suzuka spec and as we were genuinely competitive in the races at both those tracks I think we’ll be ok in India. I’m sure it will be another good race for us, and I think the whole weekend will be fascinating, for us and for the fans.”

Karun Chandhok
“I am very excited about driving at the new Buddh International Circuit in FP1 in front of my home crowd and while I am obviously disappointed that I won’t have the chance to race on Sunday, I accept the team’s decision to opt for the experience and talent they have at their disposal with Jarno and Heikki. This is a team that is still young, still growing, and I know that they have to do their best to secure their future in the sport - sometimes the hard decisions have to be made, and in this case it must have been a very difficult choice, but I understand that this isn’t about me. It’s about the team and everything the 254 people on track and back at the factory are doing to build for the future. For me, I believe that I have grown as a driver in and out of the car this year with my role in the Friday practice sessions and I’m looking forward to playing my part in helping the team have another strong weekend on track.”

Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer
From a technical perspective the track looks like quite a few of the modern era F1 circuits, with a mix of high and medium speed corners and a long straight with a tight turn at the end at Turn Four, which I am sure will create decent overtaking opportunities. It looks like there will be multiple lines for the drivers to take into that corner, as well as into Turn Three leading onto the straight, so I think we will see a lot of action onto and out of that section. Turns 10, 11 and 12 also look like they present the drivers with a bit of a challenge - they combine to make a long right that will be hard on the front left tyre and in layout it is akin to Turn Eight in Turkey, but instead of being flat throughout it will need the drivers to go in hard on the throttle, come off the power into the first apex and then get back on through the middle section and out onto the run to Turn 13. The next couple of turns are a little fiddly, but we might also see some overtaking into the final corner, Turn 16, as it is a tight right leading onto the start finish straight after a pretty quick Turn 15 which leads straight into Turn 16. The tyres have probably been the single most important factor in upping the entertainment factor this season, but we will not know until Friday practice is completed just how they will perform in India. New tracks obviously lack basic grip until any meaningful running has been completed on them, and I am sure the Buddh circuit will be the same. Everyone up and down the pit lane will be in the same situation, so we will all be working hard on Friday to gather as much data as we can and give ourselves as good a shot at qualifying as we can, and at maintaining the race pace we showed in the last two Grands Prix. Whatever happens I am sure it will be a great weekend and one that will show the world just how well India can put on a global sporting spectacle.”

Tony Fernandes, Lotus team principal
"I am very excited about the Indian Grand Prix and I would like to congratulate The Jaypee Group and everyone involved at the circuit for their hard work in creating what I am sure will be an incredible event. From the team perspective the key goal for us this weekend is to maintain the performance levels we saw in the last two races and while I am sure there will be fans in India who want to see Karun race for us on Sunday we had to make the best decision for the future of the team. While all the emotional reasons for him driving were right we were conscious that the limited running he has had in the car this season, largely due to the weather conditions that have hit most of his FP1 sessions, has not given him the best preparation for this race, so we have taken the very difficult decision not to run him in the race this weekend. It is absolutely vital that we secure tenth place in 2011 to give us the platform to keep growing and despite the fact that Karun’s performance levels have continued to improve every time he has driven for us in 2011, it was considered too much pressure to put on Karun to drive in his first home race, deal with all the attention he would have had and be able to perform at the same level as either of our regular race drivers over the whole weekend. For that reason we had to take the pragmatic decision to put our faith in the experience and pace we have in Jarno and Heikki, and are confident they will continue to perform at the level they have over the last two years with us. While this is obviously not the decision Karun wanted us to take he understands that we have to take the long-term view and do so in the best interests of the team. He also understands that his relationship with our team is not about just one race, it is about growing together and while this is an historic event, there will be many opportunities to race in India in the future, and he is in the best possible place with us to take advantage of those chances in seasons to come.”

Rubens Barrichello, Williams
"I have never been to India and as the circuit is new I have been preparing by playing my home simulator to get to know the track. I am very much looking forward to this race as it will be different to other weekends in terms of culture. I have always wanted to go to India, so this is a great opportunity for me to get to know the country as well as do what I love at the same time: drive a Formula One car."

Pastor Maldonado, Williams
"I think India will be really interesting for everyone. I haven't been before so I can't wait to get there. Going somewhere new and experiencing new things is always exciting. That's one of the great benefits of Formula One - it takes you to places you may never have visited before! The circuit itself looks good and it will be new for all the drivers. For once we will all be starting from scratch! I was at the factory last week working with my engineers in the simulator so I feel as ready as I can be."

Mark Gillan, Williams chief operations engineer
"The whole team is looking forward to heading out to the Buddh International Circuit for the first time this week. The simulations of the new track indicate a high downforce and medium braking severity track, which should also be reasonably hard on the tyres. Despite our preparations there are still a few uncertainties, such as what the actual tyre grip will be and how the track will evolve throughout the weekend. We should see over a one second lap time delta between the two tyre choices for this race, namely the soft and hard tyres, with the soft being quicker. We are also expecting dry weather throughout the weekend, with ambient temperatures in the mid-20s Celsius to low 30s and track temperatures up in the low 40s."

Timo Glock, Virgin
"I always enjoy the challenge of a new circuit and this is certainly true of India, which promises to be a very exciting racing and cultural experience - a real journey into the unknown. A new race is always a big challenge for the whole team but at the same time it's always very exciting to get to know a new country and drive at a new track. There are always some big unknowns but this time it's the same for everyone, so what we have to do is focus hard on finding the right set-up for the weekend.

"I'm really looking forward to discovering this new circuit - it looks like an exciting one, as it will have one of the highest average speeds in Formula One and there are a couple of challenging corners and good overtaking opportunities.

"We are getting to the end of the season and we continue to push to get the most out of the car and to take forward valuable lessons and information for next year."

Jerome D'Ambrosio, Virgin
"As a rookie this year I have had to compete at tracks that other drivers already knew very well, but this time we all arrive in India with none of us having driven here yet, so it will equal things a bit for me. This is going to be my first time in India and I'm really looking forward to it. It's a very different cultural experience which I've always wanted to sample, so I'm really excited about the race weekend ahead.

"What is also good about this is that the track is going to be a new one for everyone - it will equal things a bit. I have also had time to see the new layout and it looks really exciting! I hope to get to grips with the track quickly and, as always, I will aim for a positive result for myself and the team here in India."

John Booth, Virgin team principal
"We are all incredibly excited to be heading to New Delhi for the first Indian Grand Prix. We always welcome a new addition to the calendar, taking Formula One into exciting new territories and broadening its reach and accessibility. The fans there have some great racing to look forward to.

"I think we have a very interesting weekend ahead of us and I'm sure India is going to present some surprises that even the best preparation cannot cater for. It's the first time here for everyone and a level playing field is always most welcome. The track is provides an undulating lap with a combination of slow turns and high-speed straights, with many elevation changes that will make it a real challenge for the drivers. We can't wait to experience it for ourselves during the first Free Practice session on Friday, but from our data and simulations the circuit looks quite interesting.

"The season is coming to an end very quickly - it's unbelievable how the time has flown by! Reliability has been our watchword this season, so we hope to continue like this until the end of the season and aim for a positive result at the first ever Indian Grand Prix."

Paul Hembery, Pirelli’s motorsport director
“We’ve opted for a deliberately conservative nomination in selecting the hard tyre alongside the soft, simply because on a brand new circuit you are never quite sure of the exact race conditions you will encounter. But we’ve structured the allocation in such a way that we think the teams will run more on the softer tyres, particularly because we are bringing an extra set of soft compound tyres for Friday. This will help us to make some decisions about our strategy for next year, particularly after we saw the excellent durability of the softer compounds. It’s too early to talk about the number of pit stops we expect this weekend, but we anticipate a reasonably significant lap time difference between the two compounds.”

Narain Karthikeyan, HRT
“Driving in front of the home crowd cheering on is going to be a surreal experience. A once in a lifetime experience and I feel extremely fortunate. There is a huge buzz around the Grand Prix already and I’m sure that it’ll be a resounding success that will motivate more youngsters towards the sport and give us the future F1 drivers. Making it into F1 at the time I did was a seriously uphill task and the thought of being able to compete in the inaugural Indian GP was non-existent. But it is finally here and I’ll be on the grid. It is going to be one of the most challenging circuits on the calendar. There are points at which, if you’re in an F1 car, you will see nothing but the sky. The layout itself is going to put tremendous energy through the tyres and the strategy will play a key role in the final result. For sure I’ll race hard and try to get a good result for myself and the team. I would like to express my gratitude towards Tata Group and the rest of sponsors for their continued support and belief throughout my career.”

Daniel Ricciardo, HRT
“I haven’t seen the circuit yet but I’ve tried it out on Red Bull’s simulator. I’ve heard it looks quite good from Mark (Webber) and Sebastian (Vettel) and if they say that then usually their judgment is pretty good. It’s always nice to go to a new place and circuit. I think every driver is excited to see what it is like. I like Indian food but it’s a little bit heavy, perhaps not the best for the diet, I will be quite careful leading up to the weekend but maybe on Sunday night I will enjoy a good curry. I did a show run in India a couple of weeks ago and there were loads of people, I’ve heard it’s already sold out so there should be quite a good turnout for the race. We had a good performance in Korea and I hope we can keep on improving in India.”

Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
“Finally the time has come and we are heading to India for the first ever Formula One Grand Prix in its history. Going to new countries and race tracks gives all teams and sponsors a new platform and opens new opportunities that can be highly beneficial to the sport. Despite not being the most popular sport in India, the excitement around the Grand Prix and the effort that everybody is doing, makes us think that it will be an extremely popular event. And for HRT, it is even more special. Having Narain Karthikeyan, the first Indian driver in F1 history, and Tata with us makes it feel like a home race. Narain is a talented driver and we are proud to be going down this path with him. For this single event, Narain will be driving alongside Daniel Ricciardo. I have asked Tonio Liuzzi to step aside for the Indian GP in order to allow driving programs with Ricciardo and Karthikeyan to be completed. I have to thank Tonio for his professional approach and attitude. After the positive performance the team had in Korea, I hope that we will keep on that line in India. Although Narain has already driven around the track and given us a positive feedback, we really don't know what to expect but we are looking forward to it.”

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
“By the time we race in India, I’ll have done several laps of the track on the simulator. What I know so far is that the track is 5.14-km and in the industrial town of Noida, about 50 minutes by car from New Delhi. The track is a combination of slow corners and high-speed straights which flow into each other. The altitude difference is extreme, rather like in Spa or Turkey, which will give the driving an additional element. Incidentally, we’re expecting the track to have the second highest average speed of the season after Monza. That means that we’ll be completing a lap at an average speed of 235 km/h, so there should be plenty of good opportunities to overtake. I’m really looking forward to India; I always do when we drive on a new track.”

Mark Webber, Red Bull
“We have completed some good simulator work, but in terms of the kerbs and other subtle final details, these will obviously come into place right at the end, so I’d say we have an 85 percent understanding of what the track is going to be like. It’s always nice to drive at a new venue and in the simulator it looks like quite a quick flowing track, very rewarding. It’s going to be pretty warm, which is going to be a challenge for the tyres. I’ve never been to India before. There are some amazing cricket players from India - it’s their number one sport and I’d love to watch Australia play cricket there someday. I’m looking forward to the weekend.”

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber
“It will be my first time in India and I’m very curious to discover a bit about the country. Everybody is telling us to be careful with the food. In a way I’m a bit worried about my stomach, but at the same time butter chicken curry is my favourite food and I would love to have it where it comes from. Obviously I don’t know the track yet. Maybe I will walk it, although generally I don’t regard track walking as being really very useful. The speed you have when you are on the circuit with the F1 car is so different it changes everything. I certainly want to get a good result for the team, as well as for myself at the inaugural Indian Grand Prix. I also hope there will be huge interest from the people, as this is always a crucial question for debut races, and excited fans do create a good atmosphere.”

Sergio Perez, Sauber
“I am looking forward to this new track in India. It is another unknown circuit for me, but this time it will be new for everybody, so it won’t only be me who has to start from zero. On Monday before the race I will actually get to know a bit more about the circuit when I will be testing in the Ferrari simulator. I think the first Indian Grand Prix will be a very exciting event. I have some Indian friends and they keep telling me how emotional everybody is there about it. In any case, it is my goal to make the most out of that race weekend and score points again.”

James Key, Sauber technical director
“After our performance in Korea was clearly below our own expectations, we analysed all the data carefully and came to the conclusion that we underestimated the limitation on the front axle and front tyres. As a result we suffered from too much understeer, which resulted in over loading the front tyres. Concerning the Grand Prix in India, we are obviously very much looking forward to going to a new venue in a country which is new to Formula One. Obviously the track itself is fairly much unknown to everyone, apart from using the simulation, and the other preparation work you can do with the information you have.

“You never really know what to expect until you are there. Like Korea last year, at a brand new track we expect that things like the evolution of grip will be quite significant over the weekend. This will influence the balance of the car, and you will possibly have to change the downforce level. The track itself looks pretty interesting, as it has one long straight and a fairly high downforce requirement in some of the winding bits at the back. The track is not unlike other new circuits. There seem to be some overtaking opportunities, but the drivers need to learn where that works and how effective the DRS is.

“The downforce level is most likely similar to recent events. We will have the soft and the hard tyre compound there. It’s quite some time since we ran the hard compound, so we’ll have to see how that goes. A lot depends on track temperatures, but given the nature of the track with several highly loaded corners, it could be that the hard tyre will warm up okay and last. Maybe the soft will struggle, but you never really know until you’re there. On the car we will have some small modifications to the rear wings and some small updates on the front wing.”

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
“I’ve been a few times before - we’ve done a few Vodafone promotional days there. The last time was just crazy - just after Singapore, we did a demo run in Bangalore and were expecting 5,000 people to turn up. On the day, there were around 40,000 fans - it was just incredible. You can’t believe how many people are aware of Formula One and how many are looking forward to the race next week. There’s already a great deal of knowledge about the sport - I think it’s going to be a big deal. India’s a sport-mad nation - mostly, it’s about cricket, which is understandable because they’re a very successful cricketing country, but I really think the people of India are going to take Formula One to their hearts. The reception we’ve had in the last few years has been greater than I could ever have predicted and I think the whole country is ready for something new and something exciting. I really hope India will get turned on to Formula One in a big way - it would be amazing to have an entire continent supporting you - and I really hope we can put on a fantastic race! It’s too early to say, but I think we’re set to be competitive at all of the final three races. We were quick at Singapore, Japan and Korea - and I think the pattern at the front has sort of settled down now as we reach the end of the season. I think we have a car that can be quick anywhere, so I’d like to think we’d be in the hunt again next weekend.”

Jenson Button, McLaren
“The first time you run on a new circuit is a strange experience because you’re piecing together an incredibly diverse and vivid set of data in your mind. That’s quite an intense experience. You’re quickly gathering everything together - constantly assessing the grip-level, watching for unexpected bumps, checking the kerb-height, run-off areas, pit-lane entry and exit, gradient. And that all happens at about 170mph! But the track itself has quite a nice mix of corners - the start of the lap is pretty stop-start, there are a couple of long straights mixed with tight hairpins, but it’s the end of the lap that’s more interesting: there are some pretty high-speed changes of direction through the esses and some gradient change. One of the things that looks really interesting is the double-apex banked corner at the back of the circuit - that’s pretty unusual. It’s sort of a mix between Turn 13 at China and Korea’s Turn 11. I always look forward to the next Grand Prix. The word is that people in India are really excited about Formula One and the event - it’s important for the sport that we make a good first impression and I really hope we have a fantastic race. Our car's been pretty competitive recently and we'd like to win more races before the end of the season.”

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
“Every new venue we visit is important to the sport of Formula One and to our partners, many of whom have a considerable presence in India, and who are delighted by the prospect of the inaugural Indian Grand Prix. I think it’s important that the world championship is fully represented on the world’s stage - and a Grand Prix in India is certainly a very positive step. For Formula One, the most important thing is to educate, nurture and cultivate our audience - I firmly believe that Formula One is the greatest sport in the world and I want us to spread that word across the whole Indian subcontinent. Secondly, we want to take Formula One to the people. I know that our partners such as Vodafone are already very actively engaged in this activity in India, but I think we’ve done the right thing by establishing the circuit close to New Delhi.

"Initial impressions suggest the track will be a good one, with particular regard paid to close and exciting racing. And I’m also told that the prospect of the Grand Prix is causing a great deal of excitement within the city and the country as a whole. So I think we’re doing everything right - and I sincerely hope we can walk away on Sunday evening having done a great job for the country and for Formula One. We go racing to win, and, as I’ve said before, that’s the firm intention we take with us to all remaining races on the calendar. We’ve made some good progress recently with the 2011 car and we feel we have a car that can challenge for victory at all the remaining Grands Prix. While we’re winding down the development of the 26 and ramping up development of MP4-27, we still have a few more opportunities to track-test components and developments that can be carried over to next year. And we take plenty of positives away from the last two races: I think Jenson’s win in Japan and Lewis’s drive in Korea were two of the best performances of their respective careers. Both drivers are motivated to win and want to lead the team through these final few races and into the winter. There’s a lot of positive energy back at MTC, and you’re seeing that at the racetrack, too.”

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes
"For the next race, we are heading to India for the first time; a country which a lot of people tell me is fascinating. I'm looking forward to experiencing this new culture and seeing the track for the first time. I am sure we will be impressed with what has been done there. There has been a lot of interest in the build-up to the event, and therefore hopefully we will entertain a lot of new fans in India. I've always been happy to welcome new tracks on the calendar and enjoy the challenge of adapting to them. The outcome of the last race in Korea was unlucky for us, therefore I am extra-motivated to score some points next weekend, and reward the good work of the team."

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
"This will be my first visit to India, and it will be very exciting for me to discover the new culture. I am planning to spend a few days in the country and looking forward to doing some sightseeing, particularly making a visit to the Taj Mahal. I hope the first race in India will be a great show for all motorsport fans there, and a big success. I enjoy going to new tracks for the first time as I tend to learn them quickly, and it will be very interesting to set the car up as there will be so many unknown points. I hope to be able to fight in amongst the top six cars again, like during the last race in Korea, but this time hopefully I will be able to stay ahead of one of them until the end of the race."

Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
"The Indian Grand Prix will be a new adventure for Formula One, and we are all looking forward to experiencing the country and the Buddh International Circuit for the first time next week. A tremendous amount of work has gone into the new venue and the preparations for this inaugural event, and the interest in India seems to be growing daily. In the second most populous country in the world, this can only be good for Formula One as we continue to expand our fan base by taking the sport to new markets The circuit itself looks to be an interesting challenge and we have been preparing back at the factory with circuit maps, simulations and models. You can do a great deal of work beforehand but nothing replicates the feedback from the drivers on their first laps out on the new circuit on Friday. With just three races remaining, we will be aiming to finish the season on a high and pushing hard to score good points at each one."

Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"Mercedes GP Petronas is pleased and proud to be part of Formula One's visit to India and its inaugural Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit. India is a country with a rich cultural heritage which is admired and respected across the world, and it is also a country of the future: there is a vibrant, growing economy and, for Mercedes-Benz, a rapidly accelerating market for our cars. The Buddh International Circuit promises to deliver the excellent facilities we are used to at the most modern Formula One venues. It presents a complete challenge to the cars with a range of faster and slower corners, as well as long straights that may make the compromise between downforce and straightline speed delicate to find. On the operational side, a new circuit levels the playing field somewhat between the teams and all of us must start from zero; however, it does provide an opportunity for our race team's operational excellence to pay dividends. We saw some signs of promising potential in the early stages of the last race in Korea, although this did not ultimately translate into the final results. But we will be aiming to build on this potential in India, and our team will keep pushing at every race this year to extract the maximum from our current technical package."

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