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‘Indians are really going to love motor racing'

Roudra Bhattacharya Mumbai | Updated on October 28, 2011

Champion driver Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

Interview with champion driver, Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel





Among the youngest-ever drivers to start an F1 race at age 19 (2007 for BMW Sauber F1 at US GP), Sebastian Vettel has already made it to the top in just five years.

In 2011, with three more races still to go, the German has bagged his second driver's championship (after 2010) on 10 wins out of 16 races.

The 24-year-old champion has given the stronger teams, Ferrari and McLaren, sleepless nights and helped Red Bull Racing with its first race win and Constructors' Championship (2010) in its six-year-long history.

Touted as the next big thing in F1 after compatriot driver and legend, Michael Schumacher, Vettel tells Business Line exactly what he expects from his first race in India.

As the world champion, how do you feel about being a part of the inaugural F1 race in India? Where does BIC compare to other F1 tracks?

I have never been to India. I've heard great things about India and I'm waiting to arrive there.

We are excited to come to a new country and explore a new circuit. A new circuit is always challenging.

I haven't seen much of the circuit yet. But I have heard it is quite spectacular and should be one of the fastest.

A lot of uphill and downhill as well, more than we expect. The team has been practising on the simulators and we expect it to be challenging.

Any changes made on the car or tyres according to the weather conditions in India?

We are not very concerned by the conditions as we have driven in even more challenging weather situations before. For every new circuit, the team prepares the most accurate simulation of the track they can and we undertake extensive simulator sessions. Every new circuit has its own set of challenges. We are looking forward to the Indian Grand Prix.

How much effort has gone into the design of the F1 car?

Adrian Newey and Christian Horner and our entire team have spent an incredible amount of time and effort in getting the right combinations going. Am proud to be a part of a team that leaves no stone unturned on any front.

We're constantly trying to innovate, push the boundaries and continually stay ahead of the competition, and that can't be measured in terms of time.

Will Red Bull use this opportunity to promote more motorsport in a nascent market such as India?

I think Indians are really going to love motor racing. I think they are going to be into it.

If we can get a good crowd and that is the key to a good grand prix. It makes such a difference to us if there is a good crowd and there is a lot of support for the grand prix so hopefully that will be the case.

How much would the F1 help Red Bull's marketing activities off the track?

The Red Bull brand is growing in India and they've done some pretty interesting activities including the drive with Daniel Ricciardo in Delhi.

I think Neel Jani must have had a great time driving the show car at 18,380 feet high on his way to establish a world record.

We've had a pretty successful year already and would love to cap the Indian GP off by doing something special there.

roudra.b@thehindu.co.in

Published on October 27, 2011

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