The first ever Indian Formula One Grand Prix drew a lot of reaction from those involved in the racing and those outside of it. One of those was the ambition that Formula One would pip cricket passions in the country. Is that possible? And would it be good for the sport?
Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One boss, believes Formula One is here to stay in India, a compliment echoed by fans in the country as well as some of the Indian celebrities including the Indian cricketers who were bowled over by the spectacle. At the end of the Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit in Noida, there was a collective relief that Formula One had come to India had come only once to India as opposed to cricket that is played around the year these days.
There is undoubtedly a grand following for Formula One amongst Indians and the fact that the racing was brought to India made it more of a celebration of adrenaline that is not easy to get over as the weekend proved in plenty. However, that it can actually match the crazed following that cricket enjoys in India seems a task even the multi million dollar speed thrill would have earn over time. And that would not be easy with just the one race in India although it would have done a lot towards making more people aware of the sport and perhaps see more viewership from India for more international F1 races, although only two remain in the 2011 season.
While cricket cannot match steps with Formula One racing’s worldwide following, it would certainly have a tough task sustaining interest in a sport that will see only one race a year.