NEW DELHI, June 6, 2011 (AFP) - India's top drivers said on Monday they were upbeat about the country holding a spectacular inaugural Grand Prix to complete the 2011 Formula One season after the race was pushed back to
The sport's governing body, the FIA, unanimously voted last week to reschedule the Bahrain race, which was cancelled in March due to civil unrest in the Gulf state.
The Bahrain GP will now be held on October 30, the original slot for the Indian GP which will now be the season-closing finale on December 11.
The Indian race is set to be staged at a new $350 million 5.14-kilometre (3.2-mile) circuit designed by renowned German architect Hermann Tilke in Greater Noida on the outskirts of New Delhi.
Karun Chandhok, a Team Lotus reserve driver, said the decision to postpone India's race provided an opportunity to put together a show worthy of a season climax.
"On one hand it is tough for the people in the teams as this extends the championship and gives them very little time before the next season," he said in a statement.
"But on the other hand it will be an honour for our entire nation to host the season finale in the inaugural year of the Indian GP."
Chandhok is hopeful of getting a one-off race seat ahead of regulars Jarno Trulli or Heikki Kovalainen after being limited to practice duties this season.
Hispania Racing Team driver Narain Karthikeyan, from Chennai, said the cool weather conditions in December could have a bearing on the race.
"The one concern is the morning fog. That could make things a little more testing," said Karthikeyan, 34. "But to host the season finale is very prestigious."
Karthikeyan, making a comeback to the F1 circuit after six years, is looking forward to driving before home fans although Hispania are struggling at the bottom of the table.
The under-construction circuit is part of an ambitious 1,000-hectare (2,500-acre) sports complex being built by the Jaypee group, a fast-rising business conglomerate run by the Gaur family.
The race will be followed by the FIA General Assembly and the prize-giving gala.
Vicky Chandhok, president of the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI), said it would be challenge to rework planning for the event.
"By rescheduling the race, we now have to address logistical issues such as hotel re-booking and flight tickets. But we are ready to put up a great show," he said.
"It's an opportunity to prove what India's capable of."