For all their lavish praise for the organisation of Formula One
Indian Grand Prix, the journeymen would love to see hassle-free
visa processing, adding in the same breath that things have
improved this time around compared to last year.
Officials of the world governing body for motor sports, FIA, and
regular faces at the paddock agree that getting the Indian visa
has been 'less painful' this time, but the process can still be
made easy for the Oct 26-28 event.
"My Indian visa is in the process of being sorted out -- I have
handed over my passport and am hoping to get it back by Tuesday
before I fly out in the evening. But there's no way of knowing
until I hear from the consulate that it's ready for collection,
which is annoying," Kate Walker, F1 editor of Girlracer told IANS.
Walker applied for the visa in the first week of September and
despite all possible assistance from race organisers, Jaypee
Group, is waiting for her visa. She missed the inaugural Indian
Grand Prix because she could not get the visa in time and she does
not want to miss it this time.
"The people I've been working with in India (Jaypee officials)
have been incredibly helpful, but the employees in the London
consulate are hard to deal with, and don't acknowledge requests
for help made by the Indian race organisers or the FIA," she
A Jaypee official told IANS most problems occur when person is
applying for the visa outside of his native country.
"Situation has changed after 9/11. A thorough check is important
before the visa is issued. But by and large, problems arrive when
lets say a French national is applying from the Indian consulate
in London. That also takes about 10 days whereas if you are
working in your country, then it takes about three days to get the
visa," the official said.
An FIA official told IANS that India's inclusion on the F1
calendar has been a welcome one and an efficient visa procedure
will only add to the event's success in the future.
"We were in a shock last time around. Teams, drivers and media
faces problems while getting the Indian visa. This year has been a
lot better but the problem persists. Getting the clearance in
other Asian countries is a lot faster than in India," the official
"We faced similar issues in China when the Shanghai race started
in 2004. But now there are no hassles at all. I expect the same
from the Indian authorities in the future. Getting the visa in
time is critical to the success of any grand prix. The time is of
utmost importance as you got to attend 20 races across the globe
in less than a year," the official explained.