Football fans, organise your calendar. Set
the to-do date to July 30, New Delhi. Football's biggest stars,
Brazilian Ronaldo and Portugal's Figo will be here. Not to play football
though, but for the launch of the A1 Grand Prix series. The Real Madrid
stars, currently on a tour of China, are promoters of the event in their
They, along with Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum al Maktoum, a member of
the ruling family of Dubai (UAE) whose brainchild is the A1 Grand Prix,
will be in New Delhi when the Indian car will be unveiled.
Though according to Gary Naidoo, marketing manager, Team India, its too
soon to celebrate. "The announcement is a little premature. We haven't
got any confirmation from the two.
"As seat holders in Brazil and Portugal, they have indicated their
interest in coming to Delhi, but as of now I can't confirm their
attendance. We're trying to get hold of them but it's proving to be very
difficult,” said Naidoo to TOI.
After the launch, the car would be driven from India Gate and later
displayed in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore between August 1 to 11.
Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor is involved in the Indian venture alongwith
Indian-born South African businessman Atul Gupta.
Meanwhile, Patrick Roberts, who has worked with F1 driver Narain
Karthikeyan, has been roped in as the chief engineer by Team India. Work
on the Indian team car is in full swing at Silverstone in London.
The team is keen to have a predominantly Indian group, according to
Akbar Ebrahim, manager of the Indian team. "We are trying to absorb as
many Indians as possible in the assembling staff. We're targetting
Indians working in the racing teams in countries like Malaysia,” he said.
Unlike Formula 1 where participants driver for their teams, A1 GP will
have drivers representing their countries and all driving similar cars.
In a closed ballot held at A1 GP's London office, teams representing
Australia, Brazil, Great Britain, India, Lebanon, Mexico, the
Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Portugal, South Africa and a
yet-to-be-announced European country, were each allocated a separate
chassis and engine.
The first race of the A1 series is scheduled for September 25.