Friday, October 28, 2011

Why F1 is important in India?



A rich man’s sport, too much carbon footprint, a mindless fuel and rubber burning exercise, an activity best suited to the West–there are a lot of negatives attached when Formula 1 comes to an emerging nation.To be fair it is indeed quite a show off. But as India gets ready to host its first Formula 1 race in a way better than how it did with the less interesting but more expensive commonwealth games, let us just look at the positive side of the event. For the time being, critics can wait.


1) A spectacle like no other

Can anyone defy the mind numbing experience of 20 cars travelling on tarmac at stratospheric speeds so much so that everything–life itself–becomes a blur at the end of it all. That these cars collectively can make so much noise that a diwali would seem like a graveyard.

That in essence is what Formula 1, the event where cars can travel at their competitive best, offers around the world and so long as one has not been to a spectacle as fascinating as that, one should not be a judge of it. For once you have seen the spectacle, you may not be fit enough to be a judge at all.

2) Competition at the fiercest

One supersonic vehicle overtaking another on the last hair pin bend at over 200 kmph, risking mind, limb and life itself, at the end of an exhausting 3 hour race to decide who is the better machine and human at the same time? That is the level of competition F1 offers.

Though with the champion already decided, Indian F1 would not quite be the fitting example of competition but despite Sebastian Vettel and his machine the red Bull sportscar’s heroics, there are more exceptions than rules in Formula 1. And when it comes to racing in arguably world’s fastest track and that too for the first time, the exceptions have much more to look for.

3) Technology at its best

A Formula One team employs some of the brightest and most talented automobile engineers around the world. And that surely means something.

As opposed to a normal car on the Indian roads, sensors do all the work on a Formula 1 track. There are over 300 of them on a F1 car, one to monitor air flow, fuel consumption, tire temperature and wear, oil levels and even the driver’s heart rate.

F1 is also at the forefront of development of technolgies in areas like tyres and aerodynamics. Why is important to us? All new technologies are often tested on the track for durability and efficiency before being further developed upon for mass production. ABS that is contributing to saving numerous lives on the road today is an example of that.

4) India on the map of global motorsports err sports

If there is reason enough for us to get excited about playing golf, tennis or an Indian winning a gold medal in shooting, surely we ought to stop complaining about F1 coming to town.

Currently India is among the top 10 biggest markets for cars and by 2020 it is expected to be a smaller only to China and US and ahead of all markets in Europe, the home of Formula 1 in the world. In a bid to make itself sustainable and more popular the sport itself is looking to diversify and India as a new destination is a no brainer.

For India too it holds great promise. A country that is a master of sports like cricket and hockey, which if truth be told can hardly be called global, the emergence of F1, the premier motorsport event in the world, means at least one global sporting event has a permanent home in the country. That can also throw up the possibility of a world F1 champion from India in times to come.

5) It shows what future would look like

F1 has for long been a harbinger of new technology in the world and for a motoring enthusiast nothing can excite more than to see future from such close quarters. When you go to watch the race this Sunday keep your eyes, ears, nose and the 6th,7th or 8th sense all very open. You may just stumble upon something in the cars that may soon make their way into production cars.

An example of sorts is the formula 1’s advancement in carbon fibre technology, which who knows may replace steel in cars in future. Carbon fibre is lighter and stronger than steel and hence is the preferred material used in F1 cars that need speed and hence lighter body and fuel efficiency at the same time.

If fibre is used in say a car like Alto, it would make it go much faster with the same engine, give a fuel economy in excess of 20kmpl with air conditioning on and be so robust that it can withstand a high speed collision. In the bargain however, the humble Alto would cost 20 times as much proving why F1 is technology for the future, But then nothing excites more than taking a peek into future in the present. Just like very often, a trailer is better than the movie itself.

source: hindustantimes