After the thundering success of the inaugural Formula One Indian Grand Prix, the teething troubles notwithstanding, the organisers at Buddh International Circuit (BIC) are making sure they addressed all shortcomings of last year.
Barely five weeks from the Oct 26-28 race weekend, the circuit and the surroundings look spic and span with all the picturesque fresh monsoon greenery.
The teams and drivers were clearly allergic to the dust and haze last year and that has been overcome by planting over a lakh of saplings in and around the circuit, which looks a lot prettier now.
BIC owners Jaypee Group are conscious of the fact that they have to live up the benchmark they set last year. The curiosity and frenzy was at its peak as motor sports' biggest spectacle was happening in India for the first time. The race, won by reigning champion Sebastian Vettel, brought close to a lakh of people to BIC unmindful of nightmarish traffic snarls.
"The challenge for us is to make life that much more comfortable for all those flocking to BIC this time around, though the curiosity will naturally be less compared to last year. The feedback from teams is encouraging, they are eagerly looking forward to the race," Askari H. Zaidi, Jaypee Group's senior vice-president, corporate communications, told IANS.
Most of the renovation work, including building a permanent structure in the top tier of the pit block, was complete by March. No broken tiles are visible around the venue and sanitation work is also complete.
Not much was needed to be done to the 5.12 km track, which got every driver's overwhelming approval. The height of the kerbs at turn 7 and 8 have been lowered keeping in mind Felipe Massa's accident in the qualifying and race.
"The track is in top shape. The surface holds good. Nothing has changed from the first edition. I can't wait to drive in my second home race here," HRT's Narain Karthikeyan told IANS after testing the new MRF Formula 2000 car at BIC Monday.
For the spectators, the main hassle was reaching BIC. But the organisers promise a smooth ride for the commuters this time around.
"The facilities have been perked up. We had not anticipated the number of people last time. The number of shuttles from Knowledge Park, Noida Metro Station and other main pick up points will see an increase from 2011," said Zaidi referring the doubling of buses from 100 to 200 besides the extra land for parking near Knowledge Park. That will increase parking to 10,000 vehicles as against the existing 4,000.
While around 30,000 tickets for the 99,384 capacity circuit have been sold so far, Jaypee has introduced Paddock Club passes to woo high-end buyers, costing between Rs.1.5 to 2 lakh.
"We are getting a good response for the Paddock passes from leading corporate houses. The ticket holders will have the advantage of taking a pit lane walk. And it also costs less than the corporate boxes," said Zaidi.
The training for 820 marshals has also begun and stage is set for the race.
"The Championship was decided going into the 2011 Indian GP, while this time its wide open. We wish the standings are decided here," hopes Zaidi.