Greater Noida: Business magnate and Sahara Force India's team principal Vijay Mallya called it a "special and emotional" moment after the inaugural Indian Grand Prix got off to a start with the free practice session on Friday.
"Arriving at the Buddh International Circuit and hearing the sound of Formula One engines in India once again was a very special moment. It's something I have dreamed of for over thirty years and this weekend will be a very emotional one for me," Mallya said.
The saffron-white-green car of Force India, driven by Germany's Adrian Sutil, was first to come out of the pitlane on Friday morning. It was followed by Team Lotus' Indian reserve Karun Chandhok, the second Force India car of Paul di Resta and then India's first F1 racer Narain Karthikeyan in Hispania.
Sutil and Paul di Resta set the seventh and ninth fastest times in the second practice session in the afternoon. Karthikeyan improved his best lap time to 1:32.824 from 1:34.113 in the morning. Chandhok made the most of the 90-minute session, doing 30 and 24 laps.
"Seeing both Sahara Force Indias as the first cars out on track when free practice began also brought a smile to my face," said the liquor baron.
"The Jaypee Group has done an excellent job with this circuit and we can all be very proud of this amazing facility. The drivers have been praising the layout and we all expect a thrilling race."
Mallya said he would like his team to log points on Sunday.
"We can be pleased with the work we have achieved. I've made no secret of my desire to see both Sahara Force India cars racing well inside the points Sunday afternoon and today's work has taken us a step closer to achieving this."
Sutil said driving down the new circuit was good fun.
"We had a good couple of sessions today. We ran an aero upgrade on the car this morning and I could feel the difference in stability straight away, so I think we are going to run it for the race. The circuit is good fun and very nicely done. It has some challenging corners and there seem to be plenty of opportunities to overtake. It should make for an interesting and exciting race Sunday."