Oct 27, 2012

Revving up Our engines [301/365]


When I'd begun writing this post, the Indian Grand Prix was still a day away.
The world's most expensive wastefully extravagant sport was here at the world's most favorite 'third world country'.
Ironically, this is also the land where our stratospheric fuel prices unite more Indians atleast once every quarter than any other fight. We had our last 'United against Fuel-hike' protest just half a Kardhashian ago (1 Kardharshian = 72 days), so this event just made no sense to me.

Where were the protestors? Or did they assume that the cars would run on spit and pee?
Did you take a look at the OMG ticket prices?
So, I decided to do what 13,000 odd people didn't- Watch the race on the boob tube and saved myself a fraction of a Nira Radia (1 Nira Radia = Unimaginable wealth)

Like any other patriotic Indian, my eyes searched for our F1 team- Sahara Force Indian on the grid. Finishing at a respectable 8th, the team improved its FIA ranking and gathered 4 points.
But where the hell was our real desi driver? Narain Karthikeyan, aka The Fastest Indian, was near the tail-end of the race. Which means he hasn't got any points in the last two years he has been with HRT.
What plagues Indian drivers? While Mr Malya has brought us some reason to cheer with his F1 team, can it be an Indian team without an Indian driver? But I am sure I am digressing here.

Surely motorsports is the ultimate boy's toy and every metro-sexual man and his girl must root for his/her favorite team. But isn't that what horse races and the EPL is for? At about $7 million, the F1 car is surely the most expensive car you'll ever see. But this is not including the $ 20 mill it would cost to maintain a winning team. But there is some serious moolah coming in too. It is reported that RedBull pumped in $100 mill into its team in 2009. Add the 100's of millions that come in as sponsorships, advertisements and ticket sales, where the teams get a cut based on their position and you'll see why teams race for that podium finish.
What good will this do for us? At about $400 billion, this could be the most expensive 5 kms in India. Airtel paid about Rs 40 crores to sponsor for 5 years with the potential to earn about $180 million and create 10,000 people.
In a country of a billion where millions starve, how can an F1 race improve their lives?

With the Buddh International Circuit, we are one of those elite countries to have an award winning circuit, but in the end we will still be known as a country with potholed roads, impoverished kids, fat corrupt politicians, trash-filled and over-populated cities, kitschy Bollywood movies, over-rated cricketers and one puppet Prime Minster.
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