Check out the best seats at the Indian Formula One Grand Prix
With exactly one week to go for the Indian Grand Prix, organisers have slashed ticket rates in a welcome bid to fill the stadium to capacity. Picking seats at a Formula One circuit, however, is less straightforward than it looks -- ie, the most expensive seats aren't necessarily the best. Raja Sen has visited the stadium and in case you're lucky enough to have waited it out and are ready to swoop on last-minute tickets, here are Sen's recommendations, ranked in descending order of preference:
Star Stand 1 and 2, East
The single most thrilling part of a racetrack isn't the fastest stretch, but the turn immediately after, where the cars slam on the brakes and turn in hard.
You see them flying in from a distance, hear the glorious roar of those engines at full-tilt, and then see them slinging into a slow corner, trying to late-brake each other. It's spectacular, and my favourite part of most circuits.
Book your tickets at: bookmyshow
Main Grandstand, a treat for spectators
This includes the start-finish line, and is the default premium audience position on any racetrack.
To watch all 24 cars line up is a thrill, their engines singing in unison at the start of the race, and the seats are made doubly special because you get to see the entire stretch of the pit-lane. It's a part of the circuit that will constantly give you a lot to watch, and most of it will be dramatic.
Priced originally at Rs 35,000, you can now buy these for 15k (for just the Race Sunday and not the whole weekend), and at that new price it's a steal -- albeit an exorbitant, self-indulgent one.
But go on, treat yourself.
Image: Raja Sen at the banking for the spectacular loop between Turns 10 and 11
Premium Stand South, the finest part of circuit
Premium Stand South
I wish this was discounted as well, but that would have been too good to be true.
This is the big parabolic 'loop' section between turns 10 and 11, a long turn that sees the track at a slant and the cars flying through at 200+ while finding their own apexes.
It's visually the finest part of the circuit, a graceful arc with lovely orange-marked banking, and should give those carrying cameras some terrific shots. Rs 12,500, for all three days.
Image: The Buddh International Circuit: All revved up and ready to go
Picnic Stand South, apt for big gang
Picnic Stand South
A long grassy seatless stretch, the picnic stand lets you lie back in the lovely late-October Delhi sun and enjoy the race in relaxed style, lying on your Ferrari towels and surrounded by your gang in chilled out awesomeness.
You have to get to the track early, and while Picnic Stand North offers a bland view of the ascent between turns 1 and 2, the South stand lets you see what happens right after the cars loop the loop at Turns 10 and 11.
Priced at Rs 6,000 for all three days and Rs 3,000 for just the day of the race, this is what you need to get if you're taking a big gang along.
Image: An assortment of Mercs go downhill towards Turn 5
Classic Stands with decent seats
Classic Stands East 2 and West 3
The Classic Stands have been marked down from their three-day price of 6,500 to race day-only price of Rs 4,000, but only two of the four stands on offer are any good, and I strongly recommend the South Picnic Stand over them. Classic Stand East 2 overlooks the tight chicanes at Turns 6-7 and 8-9, while the West 3 stand lets you see the cars at the tail end of the lap before slowing it down for Turn 16, the last corner of the circuit. They're decent seats, and the rest of the Classic Stands aren't half as good.
So that's it from me. Go to bookmyshow, call up your buddies, figure things out and go. Because this is going to be an event you'll kick yourself for missing out on.
Photograph: Courtesy Red Bull racing
Image: Neel Jani at the opening of the circuit