In just over a month, MotoGP will arrive in India for the first time in its history. The track that will inaugurate the world championship there will be the Buddh Circuit, located just over 50 kilometres from New Delhi. The track had hosted Formula 1 from 2011 to 2013, before being virtually abandoned. It is clear therefore that it needed some work to be done to adapt it to the safety standards of MotoGP.
Tome Alfonso, safety manager for the FIM, has been talking about the situation on motogp.com: “The first visit to India was in November – he explained – We were quite prepared for the visit already, but when you’re on-site you always see more things. The primary attention initially always goes to run-off areas. In general, we have asked to reduce the amount of asphalt and increase the amount of gravel run-off area in various points, namely Turn 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 13, 14”.
But that wasn’t the only work to have affected the track.
“We also agreed further changes to Turns 3, 13 and 14 where we worked closely with the circuit to modify the track in order to maximize run-off areas – continued Alfonso – We also introduced homologated protective devices, both air fences and foam, depending on the possible angles of impact. After this we worked a bit on the kerbs because some of the kerbs were more targeted at car racing, so for us they were a little bit too aggressive and then we did some fine-tuning. The layout is basically the same as it was before, with minor modifications.”
So, will everything be in order before the arrival of the world championship riders? In theory yes, but in practice no because the official homologation from the FIM is still missing.
“Anyway, although the works must be completed before, the official final approval is only awarded the day before the GP starts” specified the safety manager.
It’s a big gamble because what would happen if there were some shortcomings? Would riders and teams be sent back to the hotel, or would they turn a blind eye? The question is a provocative one, but given the timing for the necessary approval, it is also completely legitimate.