Pulse quickens as Hyderabad hosts Formula E race on February 11

A number of high-profile personalities, apart from 25,000 spectators, are expected to attend the high-speed event.
Cars race past each other during the practice session on the track in Hyderabad on Friday
Cars race past each other during the practice session on the track in Hyderabad on Friday

HYDERABAD: With Hyderabad set to host India’s first Formula E race on Saturday, the excitement among motorsport lovers is palpable. A number of high-profile personalities, apart from 25,000 spectators, are expected to attend the high-speed event.

In preparation for the racing event, the shakedown and free practice-1 sessions were held on Friday. During the evening free practice-1, German racer Pascal Wehrlein, who won back-to-back races in Diriyah, lost control of his car on turn 18 and crashed into the wall, causing damage to both the front and rear of the vehicle. Despite this, he was able to walk off the track without any injuries.

Many celebrities from the fields of sports, politics and film such as Mahesh Babu’s wife, model and actor Namrata Shirodkar, actor-politician Nandamuri Balakrishna’s daughter Nara Brahmani, ace badminton player PV Sindhu and Jr NTR’s wife Lakshmi Pranathi were spotted at the venue.

Motorists on track

A security breach led to the delay in the start of the practice session. Motorists were seen coming from the Indira Gandhi statue side towards the Telugu Talli flyover, causing a delay

However, the general public has been barred from accessing several parts of PVNR Marg on Saturday. Traffic police have also issued a circular asking motorists to avoid certain junctions and diversions. Commuters were suggested to avoid about 12 junctions leading to PVNR Marg on race day. Diversions have been set up at six places to deal with traffic flow.

The event will start with the second practice session followed by an autograph session at the pit lane. After the qualifying race in the morning session, the main event is scheduled for 3 pm.

‘Got govt support’

The Hyderabad leg of the Season 9 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship will be the fourth race in the current season after two consecutive races in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, in January and one in Mexico City. The final race is scheduled to be held in London in July while many other global cities such as Cape Town, Berlin and Jakarta will also host the other rounds.

Speaking about the Hyderabad round, Formula E CEO Jamie Reigle said, "Every new market comes with its own challenges, especially in cities like Hyderabad as we have constraints like roundabouts, disrupted traffic and the lake, which doesn’t give you maximum flexibility."

However, he seems excited about the event stating that it will open people to new experiences, he added.
"I believe that Formula E has a very powerful story to tell and we want the first edition in India to be a success because it is important for us as a championship, to our teams, our sponsors and hopefully for the fans in India who are excited about motorsports," Reigle said.

"The history of Formula E is that we race in cities where no one has gone racing. We can do that because the cars are quiet. The local government and the ambition of the city come into play to host these events. In the case of Hyderabad, we felt the love coming from the government," he added.

Speaking about the metrics of evaluation of a successful race, he mentioned, "Though there are so many opinions and hard metrics, what we ultimately look for is the local population."

Expanding on the four-year commitment with Hyderabad over the next seasons. he mentioned, "We’ll do our best in the first go but every year, we try to optimise. We are sure that we will do the same thing with Hyderabad as well. Some things will work and some won’t. We’ll debrief and do things differently next time around for enhancing the experience."

"Formula E is just 9 years old, we are still a very young sport. It takes a long time to build habits and fandoms.," Reigle said."Formula E has a purpose at our core, which is to address climate change, as it is a global problem," he added.

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The New Indian Express