Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton is receiving a lot of hate and backlash on social media platforms such as Twitter owing to his recent comment on India and the Grand Prix races that were hosted here.
In an interview, the F1 world champion questioned F1’s policy of organizing races in countries with no genuine racing tradition. He went on to say that he felt conflicted when he came to India to race in the Indian Grand Prix.
He called the country ‘poor’ and said that it was strange for him because despite India being a poor country, it had a massive and beautiful Grand Prix Track, but in the middle of nowhere.
He is being criticized over Twitter and similar platforms for his statement, but I don’t find anything wrong with it and I have reasons for the same.
Better Priorities than A Grand Prix Track
The Grand Prix Track made alongside the Yamuna Expressway in Greater Noida is no doubt a beautiful and massive track, but do we need it?
Lewis suggested that the race should continue to take place in conventional countries like Britain. It must be noted that Britain is the fifth largest economy in the world and at the time when the F1 races were conducted in India, it stood nowhere near the British economy.
Isn’t it an irony that we can spend crores of rupees on a massive F1 track by conveniently ignoring the needs of the country?
The time when it was built, its construction cost amounted to $400 million USD. Had we ignored the “urgent need” of building this track, this money could have been used in better ways, which would have contributed to nation building and would have ultimately made our economy grow.
Not In Use Anymore
This massive track costing $400 million USD is no more in use. It became the venue for the First Annual Formula One Indian Grand Prix but after that, due to tax disputes with the Uttar Pradesh government, all the plans to conduct any further Grand Prix tournaments here went down the drain.
Some small events were conducted here after the F1 race but they definitely do not serve the purpose for which it was constructed.
So practically, this place is of no use anymore. It is just a massive structure standing in the middle of nowhere and contributing nothing to state revenue.
It is a track located in the city of Greater Noida. For those who do not know where it is exactly situated, it is located at a secluded place alongside the Yamuna Expressway.
It isn’t strange the owners were unable to significantly recover their investments through all three seasons for which the F1 races were held here and were forced to write off losses worth at least $25.1 million.
The place is so far from the main city that it takes about an hour to reach the place and during the time when the F1 race was held, it became even more difficult, thus, people did not come to witness the race leading to huge losses.
The place is also thinly populated and is famous for cases of theft. The building up of the Buddha International Circuit contribute nothing to the development of this area and due to further disputes over the property, it lost its charm over the years.
Racing Not A Conventional Sport
Lewis in his statement criticized the decision of F1’s policy of organizing races in countries which do not have a racing tradition and India is one of those countries.
In India, Motorsports is not a popular and traditional sport. It was in 2005 that India got its first Formula 1 racing driver. Traditional sports in India are cricket and hockey.
When even sports like football are struggling to find their position here, how can we expect the Indian audience to appreciate racing as a sport, yet?
The people of the countries where racing is not a traditional sport cannot praise it as much as they should and they are not at fault. We need to let the game and its audience develop in a country and then organize big events like F1 there, which require such massive cash burns.
This would have a twofold effect since people with enthusiasm and knowledge about the sports would come to watch it, organizers won’t suffer losses and racers would also have a sense of belongingness.
Lack Of Infrastructure
When Lewis says that India is a poor country, he must be having a reason to say so. It is undisputed that the conventional image of India is that of a nation of snake charmers.
Internationally, our image is of a poor country. Also thanks to BBC and Hollywood, which only shows naked kids pooping on streets, dust, dogs and beggars as India, the stereotype of India that only has slums is extremely prevalent in the Western countries.
Though the present PM is trying to change it, but it takes a lot of time to change the perspective.
Moreover, we can build a lavish and good-looking F1 track for racers, but what would we do of roads and slums that are obvious to cross their path while travelling to the venue.
The nearest airport to Buddha International Circuit is Indira Gandhi International Airport, at about a distance of 61 KM.
During this journey of 61 Km, racers must have seen the filthy condition of traffic and roads, the slums situated in various parts of Delhi and the beggars that are found at every traffic light.
They will obviously form such an opinion about India as voiced by Lewis. And they frame such an opinion because we let them do so, we were only concerned about the event and the venue and gave no regard to the fact that other similar infrastructure should be built so that our image internationally is not hampered.
Though the words used by Lewis were harsh and he should have framed it in a better manner, but undoubtedly, the meaning behind it was not worth the hatred he is receiving.
Before pointing out his shortcoming and backlashing him for his comment, we should introspect where we went wrong and created a bad image in front of a foreigner.
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Find The Blogger At: @innocentlysane
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