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BW Businessworld

The F1 Formula

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The Buddh Pit Stop
Jaypee Sports International, which developed the Buddh International Circuit, has signed a five-year race lease with the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). It can be extended by another five years. There are two other race tracks in India: the Irungattukottai Race Track, Sriperumbudur in Chennai and Kari Memorial Speedway in Coimbatore. There are plans to have a Formula 1 track along the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.

For A Cushy Ringside
There is nothing like a corporate box to hear the whirrs and purrs of the Formula 1 machines. Some seat seven; others a dozen and a few more. If you want to park here, you will have to shell out anything between Rs 7 lakh and Rs 10 lakh. That's steep when compared to the price for a corporate box seat at the Feroz Shah Kotla at about Rs 12,000. The Buddh has about 55 corporate boxes priced between Rs 35 lakh and a crore. It is estimated that around Rs 5-7 crore will be spent over the Formula 1 weekend. The spend on basics (air tickets, travel and stay) will cost you at least Rs 60,000.

Money, Money, Money
The Indian Grand Prix, experts say, has the potential to generate around Rs 850 crore in revenues and create as many as 10,000 to 12,000 jobs in both the organised and unorganised sectors. In the hospitality sector alone, the event would create an average of two jobs per room. In the four-star category, it will be 150 jobs and in the five-star category, 200 jobs would be required for every 100 rooms. The Buddh cost nearly Rs 1,800 crore, and the punt is it will fuel overall economic growth; one estimate puts it at around Rs 50,000 crore over the next decade. Nearly 17 hotels are to be set up in the Noida and Greater Noida area at about Rs 1,300-1,500 crore.

Not Just A Pit Stop
The Buddh circuit is just a part of the 2,500-acre Jaypee Greens Sports City in Greater Noida. On the anvil is a 100,000-seat cricket stadium, an 18-hole golf course, a 25,000-seat hockey stadium and a sports academy. After the F1 race, Buddh will play host to MotoGP and motorbiking. Training facilities would be offered to increase revenue from the circuit.

Mean Spin
An international airport hub has been planned close to Greater Noida city to facilitate tourism, cargo, aviation and non-aviation facilities. The Taj Expressway would provide direct access to the Taj Economic Zone, International Airport and Aviation Hub proposed to be constructed along the Taj Expressway. A Night Safari is to be set up on over 222 hectares near Gautam Buddha University, about 40 km from New Delhi. This would be the fourth in the world after Singapore, China and Thailand.

Indian Faces
Bal Sira, a 31-year-old mechanic of Punjabi origin, maintains the engines of the Red Bull F1 car driven by world champion Sebastian Vettel; he has won 10 of the 16 races so far this season. It will be Sira's first visit to the country. Other notable Indian faces will be liquor and aviation baron Vijay Mallya and Subrata Roy, co-owners of Force India. But Karun Chandhok will not be at the steering wheel. Fans can look forward to Narain Karthikeyan; the other Indian in the F1 paddocks will drive for the Hispania Racing Team.

Going Gaga
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, popularly known as Lady Gaga, who will be at the Lap after party at the Buddh, pockets nearly $1 million for each concert. Lap is owned by Bollywood actor Arjun Rampal. Last year, Lady Gaga was the seventh highest paid musician in the world. This year, she is expected to make $100 million. Each of Lady Gaga's costumes cost anywhere between $2,000 and $15,000 for a concert. Her Grammy outfit cost around $28,000. She mostly goes for Giorgio Armani and Alexander McQueen.

Compiled by Malabika Sarkar

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 07-11-2011)