• India, Friday: Ross: “It’s exciting to face a new challenge here.”

Formula One made its debut in India today with the first two practice sessions for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix taking place at the new Buddh International Circuit on the outskirts of New Delhi.

Michael and Nico completed 118 laps of the 5.125 km circuit, which equates to over 604 kms of running. After acclimatising to the track layout, much of the team’s programme focused on race preparations for Sunday. The drivers also evaluated the two Pirelli compounds available here; the prime (soft) and option (hard) compounds.

For Ross, the team had: “A useful first day of practice around the new Buddh International Circuit today. It’s always interesting to explore a new track for the first time, and the grip levels changed a great deal during the two sessions, so the trick will be anticipating where they will be by the race on Sunday. The majority of our programme today focused on race preparation and the car seems in reasonable shape. It’s exciting to face a new challenge here and I’m sure there will be plenty of opportunities this weekend. We’ve been very impressed with the new track layout and the drivers seem to really enjoy it.”

Norbert wanted to congratulate the Indian Grand Prix organisers: “They’ve built this state-of-the-art race track which certainly does not need to hide behind the best ones in Europe. It is a pleasure for Formula One to be here in India; the friendliness of the Indian people is overwhelming and the excitement to have a Formula One World Championship event in their country quite obviously and understandably makes them proud. Our programme today concentrated on race simulations during the afternoon. We learned a lot and gained experience which should help us tomorrow and on Sunday.”