Has F1 lost the plot in India? | Sports | Times Crest
Popular on Times Crest
  • In This Section
  • Entire Website
  • Courting the closet
    July 6, 2013
    Is it only in team games that men fear being ostracized if they reveal they are gay?
  • Lebron, born again and again
    June 29, 2013
    He may lack the grace of a Michael Jordan, but the lumbering LeBron James is a champion of the people.
  • Double fault by man, ego
    June 29, 2013
    What was it that caused Roger Federer to exit this year's Wimbledon in such feckless fashion?
More in this Section
Profiles
Leaving tiger watching to raise rice Ecologist Debal Deb, who did his post-doctoral research from IISc in…
The crorepati writer He's the man who gives Big B his lines. RD Tailang, the writer of KBC.
Chennai-Toronto express Review Raja is a Canadian enthusiast whose quirky video reviews of Tamil…
Don't parrot, perform Maestro Buddhadev Dasgupta will hold a masterclass on ragas.
A man's man Shivananda Khan spent his life speaking up for men who have sex with men.
Bhowmick and the first family of Indian football At first glance, it would be the craziest set-up in professional football.
From Times Blogs
The end of Detroit
Jobs in Detroit's car factories are moving to India.
Chidanand Rajghatta
How I love the word ‘dobaara’...
Can ‘bindaas’ or ‘jhakaas’ survive transliteration?
Shobhaa De
Anand marte nahin...
India's first superstar died almost a lonely life.
Robin Roy
Racing extravaganza

Has F1 lost the plot in India?

|



Has the much-fancied racing extravaganza lost steam in India in its second edition itself? Formula 1, that hit India hard with much fanfare and pomp last year, has failed to generate the same buzz this time around, raising questions over the event's viability in a cricket-mad country.

"It's in a bad shape," says an event manager deeply involved in the event, on condition of anonymity. "The curiosity is not as high as last year as there has been no hype around the event and the marketing has been below par."

Jai Lala, principal partner (exchange) at media and marketing services agency Mindshare, says the event has sobered down this year. "There was hype around the event last year as it was the first time a race of this stature had come to India. Advertisers wanted to cash in on this. I do not see that hype this year as that newness is gone," says Lala.

While India's growing economic clout was one of the key reasons for the race to have set foot in India, the slowdown in economic activity has led to the cold shoulder this time.

"In terms of sports sponsorships, India is still in a nascent stage. Cricket is the only sport which is heavily followed by masses and that is what holds back advertisers from other sports," Lala says, adding that events like F1 - despite their high-profile nature - need time before reaping results. "Here you need to invest not only for mileage, but also to push the sport. Thus, many brands prefer to seen with a successful formula like cricket rather than invest in a new sport like racing."

Adman Prasoon Joshi, McCann Worldgroup South Asia's president, feels the event is yet to evolve. "This is the year of maturing for the F1 in India and the euphoria will certainly not be like the inaugural edition. But this should not be taken as a discouraging sign. "

Joshi blames the "political turmoil" in the country behind the subdued response. "There is a lot happening at the moment to engage the consciousness of the masses," he says, in an apparent reference to the differences between the civil society and the political parties over corruption matters. "The share of mind is currently occupied by national issues. Events like F1 have a definite future, but only when there is stability in the country. "

The slowdown has also dented the morale of the industry. "You require a robust economy - and not a limping one - for events like these. . . I think the economic mood of a nation is very important to determine the business model of any event like this," Joshi adds.

But are cultural issues coming in the way of a more wide-based the acceptance of the sport in India ? "Oh yes. Please remember, we are not a racing car country. Culturally, we are yet to be an automobile nation where cars are a part of the local culture," says Joshi. "Today, such events seem alien to our countrymen."

Prahlad Kakkar, another ad-guru and brand strategist, says F1 as a brand is here to stay but will take its own time to pick up. Economic activity also has a bearing on the cold response this time around, he says, in agreement with Joshi. "Right now, we are in a slowdown. It's wait-and-watch for many," Kakkar says.

Kakkar, who is giving the event a skip, blames the "Delhi culture" for the poor response to the event by the masses, especially as tickets are yet to be sold out fully despite price cuts by organizer Jaypee. "If they had moved the event out of Delhi to near Mumbai or Chennai, it would have rocked. "

However, some corporates associated with the event are still hopeful. "The F1 race gives us an opportunity to showcase the new face of Mercedes in India," says Debasish Mitra, director (sales & marketing ) at the German luxury car brand in India. The race, he says, serves as a "big marketing tool" for the car brand. "F1 is a serious investment on R&D as well as branding as far as Mercedes Benz is concerned, " Mitra says, shooting down speculation that the company has cut its budget in this edition.
Mitra, however, concedes that the chips are somewhat down this time around. "Expectation levels are lower than last year. "

A top official at a leading global car company, that was heavily associated with the sport last year and still is, however, does not sound that upbeat. "It is just not the same as last year at this edition. We have cut down on events and also spends," the official says, refusing to be named.

Reader's opinion (1)

Nikita VatsOct 20th, 2012 at 14:42 PM

hmmmmmmmmm...........

 
Other Times Group news sites
The Times of India | The Economic Times
इकनॉमिक टाइम्स | ઈકોનોમિક ટાઈમ્સ
Mumbai Mirror | Times Now
Indiatimes | नवभारत टाइम्स
महाराष्ट्र टाइम्स
Living and entertainment
Timescity | iDiva | Bollywood | Zoom
| Technoholik | MensXP.com

Networking

itimes | Dating & Chat | Email
Hot on the Web
Hotklix
Services
Book print ads | Online shopping | Business solutions | Book domains | Web hosting
Business email | Free SMS | Free email | Website design | CRM | Tenders | Remit
Cheap air tickets | Matrimonial | Ringtones | Astrology | Jobs | Property | Buy car
Online Deals
About us | Advertise with us | Terms of Use and Grievance Redressal Policy | Privacy policy | Feedback
Copyright© 2010 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service