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Mumbai on course for F1 road demo

31 August 2012

Mumbai's 3-kilometre-long Marine Drive may see an F1 car running down it in mid-September, if an application by an event management company working for Vodafone India gets approval from local authorities.

The head of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) confirmed that an application had been made to close off the street in order to run F1 cars along it next month.

"We are examining the proposal," said BMC chief Sitaram Kunte. "I have forwarded it to the department concerned. The ward officials will study the feasibility of the proposal."

Vodafone India and its event management company Precept refused to comment on the proposal but did not deny that application had been made. Vodafone is the title sponsor for McLaren, making it likely that if such an event did go ahead then it might feature one of their drivers, with Lewis Hamilton having attended a similar promotional feature in Bangalore in 2011.

"They have asked us for permission to construct stands for spectators to view the test run," said a civic official who wished to remain anonymous. "Since it involves a racing car, it will involve high-speed driving along the road."

Mumbai previously saw David Coulthard driving an F1 car down he Bandra-Worli sea link in 2009. However, the official cast doubt over whether the latest proposed location by the seafront would prove suitable for such a use in 2012.

"Marine Drive is not in good shape right now to handle such high-speed racing," admitted the official. "Also, we cannot allow them to erect spectator stands on the pavement alongside the shore. We will take a call on the feasibility of the proposal after considering all aspects."


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