ANDHRA PRADESH GEARS UP FOR FORMULA 3 RACE TRACK
Kotipalli, Anantapur will soon host Formula 3 races if all goes well and according to plan. The tourism department has prepared the required plans in order to get the chief minister’s approval.
Mukesh Kumar Meena, secretary of tourism and cultural department, said, “The location was selected because of the proximity to Bengaluru, which has a huge potential market and presence of an active and enthusiastic cosmopolitan crowd.”
“Such a facility requires a huge area of land. It would be nonviable to have such a venture close to the city because of exorbitant land prices. It also needs a location away from the noise and hustle associated with highways,” he added. It is estimated that close to 1,000 people will be directly and indirectly employed with this project.
The main difference between Formula One and Formula Three is top speed. In F1, the top speed of cars is in the range of 350 kmph to 450 kmph. A track, which can withstand a top speed of 250 kmph, is expected to be laid at the Amaravati Race Club in Kotipalli.
While Chandrababu Naidu may have desired to have a race track as a unique tourism sector project, it was the zeal of race car driver Anush Chakravarthi, who conceptualised this project.
If the Amaravati Race Club is approved by Naidu, then the first phase of the project will be completed in 18 months.
“The project is being taken up under private initiative supported by government facilitation. The government will provide land and incentives, and the private partner shall make the whole investment. As per their calculations, the project will start giving returns in 12 years,” said Meena. “Nidhi Marque One Motors of Bengaluru, consulting with Driven International UK and Mrk1 Consulting Bahrain, are the chief consultants in India. These consultants have worked on several international projects such as Yas Marina F1 Circuit, Bahrain F1 Circuit.”
“A circuit which operates like this doesn’t exist anywhere in India. There is a conventional model which exists in Irungattukottai, Tamil Nadu,” he said, adding that the race track would attract competitors from all nations. With the Puttaparthi airport being close to the racetrack and the Bengaluru international airport being only 130 km away, it would be an easy commute. As part of the project, a five star hotel accommodation and resort will also be developed in the future.
For the Amaravati Race Club, a race track of 3.3 km is being designed in a way that depicts all the tourist destinations of the state along the track. Amusement park, resorts, conference rooms, sound and light shows would also be developed near the race club.
“The officials behind the track would have to follow the guidelines of the international FIA body and for the circuit license. They have strict safety and design norms for the circuit and its facilities,” says Meena regarding the international strictures to be followed.
“F3 is just the beginning, F1 is the ultimate goal,” said Meena
- In his previous avatar as chief minister of a united Andhra Pradesh, N. Chandrababu Naidu was keen to have a Formula One racetrack, which had to be abandoned once he lost power in 2004. But Naidu and his team had done their due diligence, and among other things, had decided to allot land for the race track at Gopanpally in Seri Lingampally area of Ranga Reddy district.
- However, no orders were issued for land acquisition. The project required over 1,000 acres of land and the project cost was estimated at Rs 1,197 crore.
- In fact, it is alleged, that the Formula One promoters even extracted a commitment from Naidu that the government would compensate the company, if the revenues from the racing event fell short of the target to meet the expenses.
- The subsequent Congress government had decided to abandon the project stating they had other priorities and did not want to invest in projects that did not benefit the common man.
- Naidu, his colleagues and officials had gone to Italy and witnessed the Formula One race and held talks with Bernie Ecclestone and other Formula One officials, while another team visited London to pursue the project. A cabinet sub-committee was set up for land acquisition and infrastructural support for this project.