Formula one’s travelling circus has offered a mixed reaction after touching down ahead of the first ever Indian grand prix.
Tax, security and circuit construction issues made headlines many weeks ago, but a couple of drivers this week were still grumbling about the difficulty of obtaining a visa to the burgeoning south Asian country.
“I had a bit of a feeling that the Indians didn’t really want to see us,” Virgin driver Timo Glock is quoted as saying by Germany’s T-Online.
“I hope the fans take us closer to the heart than the local immigration authorities did,” he added.
It has emerged that fellow German Nico Rosberg, who arrived in Delhi on Tuesday, was initially denied entry to India.
Also grumbling is Finn Heikki Kovalainen: “I had to fill in about 70 pages of paperwork. It’s unreal how complicated it was.”
But Speed Week correspondent Mathias Brunner revealed that once his visa was in his hand, he was surprised that actually entering India was easy.
Then came the smog and his taxi journey to the hotel.
“If you’re thinking of yourself driving a car in India — don’t do it!” he jokingly warned.
“The typical Indian driver honks with one hand and talks on the phone and gestures with the other. There’s not much capacity left to steer,” said Brunner.
“And I have never in my life seen such a dirty city. The rubbish lying on the streets beggars description, as though the garbage men are on continuous strike.”
© RIF | GMM