I Drove On An F1 Circuit – Kunal's F1 Blog

I Drove On An F1 Circuit

I have been involved in Motorsport for nearly 15 years now, but despite my associations, it isn’t always that I get the opportunity to drive on an F1 circuit. My last memory of driving on an F1 race circuit dates back to 2005 when I drove many sessions in a Formula BMW car in Bahrain. After that, I have had to visit the local karting track to fuel my need for speed! (Read: Our Secret Tyre Test With Pirelli)

The Buddh International Circuit, home to the Indian Grand Prix, is India’s only Formula1 track. I have visited the circuit on multiple occasions, for all the editions of the Indian GPs and otherwise. And while I knew my way around the Paddock and its buildings, I knew that should an opportunity arise to find my way around the race track, I would grab it with both hands. And I did! (Read: Bernie Ecclestone Checkmates The Indian Grand Prix)
I was delighted to receive an invitation to the #JazzAtBIC by Honda Cars India. At first, I thought it was a mistake, given the non-automotive nature of my blog, but when I received my air-tickets and transport details to the circuit and back, I knew that my wait to drive around the Buddh International Circuit was only getting lesser. (Read: #MasterBlaster Tribute To Sachin Tendulkar By Force India)

My excitement grew manifold when I realized that I would get to try my hands on the ‘All New Jazz’ that Honda was preparing to launch in India (on 8th July). To be honest, the Jazz had caught my fancy when it was first launched more than 5 years ago only to be discontinued later. As a current Honda owner, I was curious to know the improvements and newer technologies Honda would bring to their premium hatchback. (Read: Formula One Is Funny) Driving the Jazz on the Buddh International Circuit was fun. If I could sum up my driving experience the F1 way ‘controlled aggression’ would be the word. We had a Honda Amaze as the lead car followed by a string of Jazzes driving around the circuit. The speeds were controlled but that I knew I wasn’t there for high speed action so I decided to turn my attention to the ride and comfort of the car an aspect I don’t otherwise pay much attention to. (Read: Thank You Mclaren Honda)

Post the session, I spent time interacting with other fellow bloggers and employees from Honda who not surprisingly were avid Formula1 fans (special mention of Ms. Navneet Kaur (Head – Product Planning) who is an avid-er fan!). My most interesting discussion was with the CEO of Honda Cars India who is a self-confessed Formula1 buff. ‘We need 70 more PS’ was his sign off!’ (for Mclaren – Honda!).

On a personal level, I am considering purchase of Ford’s EcoSport as my second car later this year. But the versatile Jazz coupled with Honda’s hospitality and warmth have made me reconsider this decision, however accidentally so! (But not before I test drive the Jazz on the pot-holed roads of Mumbai!)

Irrespective of my purchase decision, I now wish Honda invites me over to a session to drive Honda race cars around the Buddh when they decide to enter and compete in Indian Motorsport.

(This blog post was commissioned by Honda Cars India as a part of their ‘Hangout with Honda’ initiative for the ‘All New Jazz’) 

Kunal Shah is an FIA-accredited Formula 1 journalist who has been reporting on Formula 1 for nearly two decades. He worked with the Force India Formula 1 Team for 6 seasons in Marketing, Sponsorship and Commercial roles. As a former single-seater racer, he was responsible for Force India's grassroots talent program, One from a Billion Hunt. Presently, he co-writes a regular Formula 1 column for Firstpost, speaks on Inside Line F1 Podcast & Pits to Podium and produces broadcast/OTT content for NENT Group (Viasport & Viaplay).

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