Honda website
Honda website

APRIL 19, 2007

A street race in Delhi

We hear from India that Bernie Ecclestone has decided that he prefers the idea of a race around the streets of the capital Delhi, rather than at a purpose-built location in the suburbs of the city. The next step in the process will be to despatch Hermann Tilke to India to have a look at the possible layouts for a track and then it will be down to getting everything agreed by India's celebrated bureaucracy, which is likely to make things complicated for a lengthy period of time.

The central administrative area of Delhi was planned by the British architect Edwin Lutyens and features the grand Rashtrapati Bhawan (once known as Viceroy's House) which dominates the area. There is a wide highway from there down what is known as the Rajpath, to the India Gates war memorial. It is not yet clear where the route will go but there will need to see a suitable parkland area in which to build permanent pits. This is most likely to be in the area of the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, which is at the lower end of the Rajpath.

There is also talk that sections of the circuit would be the same as the annual Republic Day Parade, which makes a lot of sense as there are huge grandstands set up for that occasion and it makes sense to use them. The parade is celebrated on January 26 so that any race would probably have to be within a week or two of that. This might fit nicely with the plans for a race in AbuDhabi at the end of January.

However there is still a long way to go with bureaucracy not be the only problem. A state election is coming up next year which could remove the current state government. A few days ago the elections for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi resulted in a massive defeat for the ruling Congress Party and victory for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The current government, under Sheila Dikshit, was blamed for failure to provide good civic amenities such as better roads, sewerage and rubbish collection. Dikshit has until the end of next year to get the people behind her of she too faces being voted out of power. She has been running the state since 1998 and was behind the plan to bring the Commonwealth Games to India in 2010.

The BJP says that it will still work to make Delhi a "world class" capital city.