Invited for the Indian GP by formula one boss Bernie Ecclestone, Sachin Tendulkar is mighty thrilled to witness yet another race day.
When Sachin Tendulkar was asked in 2004 about the possibility of India hosting a Formula One race in a few years' time, he said, "I hope that it happens because there are plenty of Formula One fans in India. It's a new sport that is picking up very quickly and the new generation is hooked".
The time has come and on October 30, world cricket's biggest draw will witness a historic event in the history of Indian sports as the nation hosts its first Formula One Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida.
"I'm really excited about this event. I was invited by Bernie Ecclestone (Formula One boss) on the last tour of England," Tendulkar told MiD DAY at the Mumbai Cricket Association's Bandra Kurla Complex ground. The batting maestro is recovering from a toe injury that has kept him out of the ongoing India vs England one-day series.
Formula One has been one of Tendulkar's best-loved sports for a while, watching it since 2000. He is delighted for his country's sports-loving public that they now have an opportunity to witness the exhilaration which Formula One lends itself to. "What you see on television is far different from what one sees at the venue," said Tendulkar, who has been to quite a few races. "The noise and speed levels are 15 to 20 per cent greater that what one can imagine... it's great," he said.
He witnessed his first Grand Prix at Silverstone while he was on the 2002 tour to England and met German legend Michael Schumacher the evening before Race Day. In fact, it was Schumacher, who presented him with the keys of the Ferrari car, which is now owned by a businessman from Surat.
"It's a great feeling to be at a race, watch the speeding cars and the turns that the drivers take. Year before last, I had the pleasure of witnessing the British Grand Prix with (Formula One legends) Sir Jackie Stewart and Sir Frank Williams. Just the three of us watched that race together," said Tendulkar.
Some of F1 buff Sachin's visits to the paddock...
* 2008 French GP at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours on June 22, 2008 in Nevers, France.
* 2005 Spanish GP at the Circuit de Catalunya on May 8, 2005 in Barcelona, Spain
* 2004 European GP at the Nurburgring on May 30, 2004 in Nurburg, Germany
* 2002 British GP at the Silverstone Circuit on July 7, 2002 in London, England