Jaypee Sports CEO Samir Gaur admits that getting the inaugural Indian Grand Prix
up and running was an emotional and, at times, stressful affair, but is delighted with the reception given to both the Buddh International Circuit
and F1 in general.
Speaking to the official F1 website prior to the first grand prix taking place at the new circuit, Gaur confirmed that he was enthused by the feedback he received on the layout of the circuit - which was universally praised by the drivers - as well as the reaction of his fellow countrymen to the sport's arrival in India.
"That is very emotional, and very, very pleasing," he noted, "Hats off to all our engineers, to all our technicians and to all our workers who worked tirelessly. The media have taken up the story very, very well and people have obviously realised that something very special is happening this weekend. It is adventurous, it is sport, and it is fun. Speed thrills and the younger generation - the 'new' India - is very attached to that..."
Construction of the all-new facility was completed in just two years, but Gaur revealed that, as rumoured in the motorsport press, there were times when the company doubted that it may not all come together in time to meet the October 2011 calendar slot awarded for the country's debut on the F1 scene
"It is very humbling," he conceded, "This project is about the whole Jaypee Group organisation. Thousands of people have worked tirelessly over the past two years, led by our able father Jaiprakash Gaur and brothers and cousins. When, three months ago, it looked like we couldn't finish the build, my father pushed the emergency button and called everybody in from the family - those who look after electricity, those who look after IT, those who look after cement etc. - so they all gathered under one roof to support me and the entire organisation. We all feel that what we did with this race track has made us all part of history. That has made us very proud."
Gaur is particularly praising of his father, and his bold decision to try and bring F1 to the sub-continent without the benefit of the government backing that has helped other newcomers get up and running.
"My father has always been very adventurous in the sense that he has always liked to take on projects that nobody else had the guts to do," he explained, "But probably what people are not so familiar with is that we do own two sports projects already. One is an 18-hole Greg Norman designed golf course which we developed ten years ago and, more recently, we have developed a five-acre sports complex, which is the best in Asia.
"We all love cricket, but we took on F1 because nobody had ventured into it in India. And F1 was the only answer if you want to hit something big with something else big. The Jaypee Group has the 'X factor' so F1 was a logical fit for us.
"The hard part was realising that F1 is not only a sport, but at least seven to eight businesses in one. You start with design - that is number one - then comes construction, which is in two parts. Firstly, the construction of a racetrack, which is an infrastructure project, and then the construction of a paddock and hospitality area, which is a hotel project. Then comes the management of media. Then management of the medical centre; the special electronics - there are more than a thousand radio frequencies); then logistics; and then marketing because you want to sell tickets. So you see how many businesses are under the roof of F1.
"If we make a dam, we do the design and the construction. Or, if we do cement, we bring the materials together and bring it to the market. F1 is significantly different! Next year you will see big changes here but, this year, it was about realising the many businesses involved within F1. But knowing Mr Ecclestone has congratulated us for the result means that we are pretty satisfied with the result too."