By Karun Chandhok
Greater Noida: I am glad to see the Indian Grand Prix go into its second year and become a more established event on the Formula One calendar. Couple of years ago, I never believed we would actually host an Indian Grand Prix, so the phenomenal success from the first year was definitely great for motorsport in India.
Jaypee Sports International (JPSI) have done a great job in making this F1 dream become a reality for a lot of fans and it was great working with them to make this possible. This year, due to my commitments with the FIA World Endurance Championship, I have been less involved and will actually be racing in China the same weekend!!
From the start of this year's F1 season, it is anyone's guess as to who will win on a race weekend, with the unpredictable Pirelli tyres giving us seven different winners from the first seven races. This set the scene for one of the most exciting championships in years.
The second half of the season has brought normalcy to the championship with Red Bull and McLaren dominating ahead of relentless Fernando Alonso and his Ferrari team. Fernando has easily been the driver of the year for me with outstanding performances race after race in a car which is clearly not the best of the field.
However, Sebastian Vettel has driven like a true two-time world champion as he has clawed his way back into the championship and has become the clear favourite as we head into the final few races of the year. Seb will definitely be a worthy champion and should be on course to be world champion for the third time, considering he has no retirements.
While Fernando is only four points off the Vettel, it is going to be really hard for him to beat the German in a straight fight as the Ferrari is struggling with qualifying pace. Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen have an outside chance but I feel they are too far behind to mount a challenge.
The Indian track should suit both the Red Bull and the McLaren and we can see these two teams fighting for pole position. Ferrari should be right behind them along with the Lotus Renault and Mercedes. Sauber F1 and Force India are definitely teams who can cause a surprise, so my friend Checo Perez and Nico Hulkenberg will surely be two guys to watch out for.
The organisers have continued to do an excellent job with the circuit and have made minor modifications to the track this year. Dust off the racing line was a problem last year, but this year they have sorted it out with a new machine to clear the whole track off dust.
The DRS zone has also been extended and this should help create more overtaking opportunities. The organisers are clear that their aim is to make this race one of the best in the world, with long-term success.
The great thing this year is that the Indian GP will play a crucial role in the outcome of the championship, unlike last year when Vettel had already wrapped it up. The race will hold special significance in the world championship battle this year and hopefully everyone visiting will have a great time at the Buddh International Circuit!