Formula 1 in India

Formula 1, also known as F1, is the most prestigious motorsport in the world. It attracts millions of viewers each year, with races held in various countries across the globe. There was a time when India was represented in F1 in every possible way. At the start of the last decade we had 2 Indian drivers Narain Karthikeyan & Karun Chandhok and there was an Indian F1 team too, Force India. Moreover India hosted F1 as Indian Grand Prix from 2011 to 2013. However, the F1 failed to make a lasting impact in India. Let’s take a look why F1 failed in India –

Image courtesy – gettyimages

  1. High Ticket Prices – The Buddh International Circuit (BIC) has a total seating capacity of 110000, and in the first season of F1 in India, 95000 spectators attended the event. In the years that followed, this figure continued to drop, and in 2012, only 65,000 people attended an F1 race.

The organizers of the event priced the tickets too high, almost four times higher than that of a cricket match , making it unaffordable for many Indians. This resulted in poor attendance, and the lack of crowds led to a lack of enthusiasm and interest in the event.

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  1. Lack of awareness – The second reason for F1’s failure in India was the lack of awareness among the general public. Motorsport was not a popular sport in India, and people were not familiar with the nuances of F1. The lack of interest in the sport made it difficult for the organizers to promote the event and attract a wider audience.

Image courtesy – Google

  1. No Subsidiaries – As Buddh International Circuit is located in Noida, it comes under the UP Government’s jurisdiction. According to the UP government of that time, F1 was not considered a sport but rather an entertainment programme. Due to this, the government didn’t give any subsidiaries to the F1 organizers, and they had to pay a high price for hosting the Grand Prix in India from their own pockets.
  1. Competition from Other Sports – The fourth reason for F1’s failure in India was the competition from other sports. India is a cricket-loving country, and cricket is the most popular sport in the country. Other sports like football, hockey, and kabaddi have also gained popularity in recent years, and these sports have taken away the attention and interest of the general public.

Image courtesy – gettyimages

In conclusion, F1’s failure in India can be attributed to a combination of factors, including the high ticket prices, lack of awareness, competition from other sports, lack of government banking and financial problems which eventually resulted in canceling the Indian Grand Prix. Despite these challenges, the F1 event in India did showcase the country’s potential as a motorsport destination.

The BIC is still used for track days and concerts and was used as a shelter and quarantine zone during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Image courtesy – gettyimages

With the right approach, F1 can still make a comeback in India and attract a wider audience.

The iconic photo of Vettel winning the 4th consecutive drivers championship in Indian Grand Prix 2013. Image courtesy – gettyimages

Written by – Vivek Singh

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