Formula One racing is forever on the move and in 2011 ventured east yet again for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix. In light of recent F1 successes in Korea and Singapore, India - and more specifically its capital city New Delhi - became the latest Eastern powerhouse to welcome the paddock with open arms. After learning plenty of lessons from hosting the 2010 Commonwealth Games, New Delhi wowed the international sporting stage once more with its first race.
A brand new circuit was built for the Grand Prix, to the south of the city in the suburb of Noida. The track, designed by renowned circuit architect Hermann Tilke, stretches to 5.125-kilometres and seats around 130,000 spectators. Two sizeable straights and an interesting mix of corners guarantee a track full of challenges for drivers and engineers alike.
In an interesting move, organisers also consulted several of the Formula One teams before construction began in earnest. The track design was run in various factory simulators and as a result several amendments were made in an effort to boost overtaking for the drivers - and excitement for the fans.
Four million cubic tons of earth was moved to give the track plenty of undulation, and it rises 14 metres between Turns One and Three alone. Inspiration was also drawn from rival venues' best features, with Turkey's famous Turn Eight inspiring a double-apex corner, slightly banked, which forms part of a 'mini-arena' which alone can accommodate 13,000 spectators.
The earthworks for the circuit were finished ahead of India's 2010 monsoon season and the track was officially opened on October 18, 2011, just under two weeks before its first Grand Prix. It was a huge success, with the event drawing universal praise from teams, drivers and fans, and with numerous pundits instantly declaring it one of the best rounds on the calendar.