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Lewis Hamilton Plays Saviour At Vodafone Speedfest In Mumbai

Posted: September 16, 2012 at 8:16 pm   /   by   /   comments (9)

Vodafone organized their ‘Speedfest’ in Mumbai today, in which the 2008 Formula1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton had the headline act. Hamilton came, did what he does best and probably left for Singapore a few hours later. The winner of the 2012 Italian Grand Prix would be itching to repeat his feat in the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix.

But Grand Prix racing aside, this post is about the effort that Vodafone put together to organize the Speedfest. The event was managed by Percept and they did a good job of it! Now before you proceed to read this, do remember that above all my connections with the sport, I am a fan and I write this post as nothing but a pure Formula1 fan!

Firstly, I wonder why it was called a Speedfest! Barring Hamilton’s 5-7 minute (or was it 10?) act, there was nothing that had the element of speed in it! The pre-Hamilton acts included some funny dancers out of a circus (Rambo Circus?) and cheerleaders doing some acts. I agree that sport and entertainment need to meet to attract masses, but as a fan of the sport, I am annoyed at the way Vodafone treated us! Either have other ‘speed’y activities in your fest (I ain’t telling what they could be!) or just call it something else!

Vodafone Speedfest (Courtesy: Vodafone)

I understand that Hamilton’s act had to be limited in duration and to a few high speed runs, donuts et al. But the entertaining acts left much to be considered. The MCs for the event were Mandira Bedi and Manish (who?). While they must have been shortlisted for their diction and ability to engage and hold a crowd together, I certainly don’t expect them to fumble with the name of the event or even the participating team! Mandira fumbled to say ‘Speedfest’ in her opening line, whereas (I heard), Manish pronounce ‘Mclaren’ in a way no Formula1 fan would like! (And you know I am not the biggest Mclaren fan around!)

I was seated in the VIP section and we saw the MCs in their canter undertake two rounds of the barricaded ‘lap’ in BKC. The part that annoyed me the most was when they started throwing Vodafone – Mclaren branded merchandise into the stands for fans to ‘catch’. This certainly wasn’t the treatment that I expected from a multi-national telecom company! And, I wonder if Mclaren were okay with their merchandise being throw at guests / fans because if I were their brand custodian, this would be a certain no-no!

Formula1 is new to India and barring the three days of Indian Grand Prix activity in October, we see very little action in real in the country. So while I would like to thank Vodafone for bringing down Hamilton and the MP4-26 (it seemed), I certainly think that Indian Formula1 fans deserve a better show than this. ESPNStar claim that the viewership of the sport in India is over 20 million, but I would be surprised if a true Formula1 fan would ever enjoy the ‘Speedfest’ that was organized. (I am trying not to be overtly critical!) After all, if you’ve cracked your headline act, how difficult would it be to get your supporting acts right? (Hear: What To Expect From Hamilton’s Demo Run In Mumbai)

I left minutes after Hamilton’s rain soaked drive on the streets of Bandra Kurla Complex. It was a sight to see the car zip across crackling its exhausts at every gear shift and the Pirelli tyres spraying up the rain water on the streets and I know I could see it happen again and again. But again, why put up a circus Vodafone?

Hear RJ Rishi Kapoor and I talk about the 2013 Formula1 Driver Line Up in our latest Formula1 podcast.

Comments (9)

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  • September 17, 2012 at 7:09 pm Harsh Jhaveri

    This is what i managed to record from the terrace of the Bharat Diamond Bourse

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqPv1kzw-tM&feature=plcp

    Even i left after this was over. Now that i know there was more then just 10 mins of Lewis, i’m feeling really bad 🙁

    Reply
  • September 17, 2012 at 10:31 am Harsh Mehta

    Sir the quality was quite decent 🙂 i had the feeln as if im present at the venue and m watching it 🙂 there were around 1500 people only watching it at the channel( also includes many people from different countries) and people in chat box started abusing for showcasing circus and not brining the car on time .

    Reply
  • September 17, 2012 at 10:15 am Murali

    How many people were there?? I guess the circus acts were unnecessary

    Reply
  • September 17, 2012 at 8:18 am Ousep

    I went for it – It was crazy to get in, was like a stampede. I agree I went late so mayhem was expected but not letting ppl in with passes was kind of bad planning, they could have barricaded the road off much before the metal detectors to check who had passes and control crowds. There were no signs, since we were supposed to enter from the YELLOW gate and no one really knew what was happening, there were only rude cops or security guys around and no one from the organisers side and if i was waiting from 5 till 7:15 with nothing happening it would have been even worse as an experience.

    I also left before the rain, but I guess once in it was worth it for the noise and the doughnuts etc but think they should have let everyone enter since its not like ppl paid for it and would have been less chao – saw a lot of children really getting pushed around in the crowd.

    Reply
    • September 17, 2012 at 8:34 am Kunal Shah

      Thanks OJK for this feedback. Hopefully the right people will read this and learn from their mistakes. And of course, Hamilton did a perfect job yesterday!

      Harsh, how was the quality of broadcast on YouTube?

      Reply
  • September 17, 2012 at 8:08 am Harsh Mehta

    Totally agreed with u sir 🙂 i was watchn this live from Home Itself from Vodafone’s youtube channel, as i wasn’t able to make it . But when i tuned in , those circus and shit was going on …and went for very long.. people literally started getting irritated ( talking about the f1 fans). And then many of my friends who went there were disappointed big time .

    http://www.facebook.com/harshf1

    Reply
  • September 17, 2012 at 2:31 am SARVESH

    HEY … IF YOU LEfT AfTER THE FIRST RAIN SOAKED DRIVE , MANH U MISSED OUT A BIG DEAL .. AFTER THAT DRIVE HAMMI DID MORE 5 RUNS , 3 IN HIS MCLAREN 1-SPEED RUN , 2 DOUGHNUTS , 3 COMBINATION AND 2 RUNS IN A MERCEDES AMG .. YOU MISSED IT DUDE ………. AND I KINDA LOVED IT AND YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS IS INDIA SO SILLY THINGS WILL HAPPEN …

    Reply
    • September 17, 2012 at 6:11 am Kunal Shah

      Thanks Sarvesh. I did get to know that I missed out on a few more runs from HAM. However, if this was pre-communicated, I am sure that along with me, the hundreds of others who left would’ve probably stayed back as well. And I somehow don’t agree with the ‘This is India, so silly things will happen’ for Formula1, purely because this sport has proved that irrespective of the country it races in, it puts up a brilliant spectacle!

      Reply
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