The Buddh International Circuit, nestled near Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh, India, was a promising venue for motorsport enthusiasts. Having hosted the Indian Grand Prix, the venue has had its share of twists, turns, and tax trouble before eventually making a dramatic exit from the Formula 1 calendar.
Designed by renowned German racetrack designer Hermann Tilke, this 5.125 km circuit was officially inaugurated on October 18, 2011.
Its name, "Buddh", was inspired by Gautam Buddha, in harmony with the Greater Noida district where it stands.
The circuit's claim to fame was as the host of the Formula One Indian Grand Prix, which made its debut in October 2011.
The sequence of events leading to the downfall of the Indian Grand Prix began with optimism and high expectations. India, a burgeoning economy with a growing appetite for international sports, seemed like an ideal destination for Formula 1.
The prospect of a street circuit in New Delhi was floated by Vijay Mallya in 2007, a year before he went on to own the Force India Formula 1 Team.
The five-year contract between Formula 1 and the Indian government marked a significant milestone, but it wasn't long before clouds of uncertainty began to gather.
One of the key issues revolved around tax exemptions that were typically granted to sports in India but were not extended to Formula 1. Additionally, customs fees for engines and tires remained unchanged, creating further financial strain.
The situation escalated when authorities sealed the Buddh International Circuit due to non-payment of dues.
Both Jaypee International Sports Company and the company responsible for building the track were part of the Jaypee Group, which had acted as promoters for the Formula One race.
The financial conundrum left the Jaypee Group unable to recoup its substantial investment of nearly $450 million, pay fees to Formula 1, and settle tax payments with the government.
In light of these complications, Formula 1 authorities decided to remove the Indian Grand Prix from their calendar indefinitely.
Although there were initial announcements of the sport's return in 2015 (later shifted to 2016), the event never materialised. Instead, Formula 1 introduced new circuits in locations like Las Vegas and Qatar, leaving Indian fans yearning for the return of the Grand Prix.
Despite the challenges that Formula 1 faced in India, there is still hope for a revival.
Over the past decade, perspectives have evolved, and the current UP Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath, has recognised MotoGP as a sport, indicating a more favourable stance towards motorsport.
MotoGP Bharat is rolling into town this weekend at the Buddh Circuit, revving the engines of fans who've been waiting for the roar of motorsports to return to India. Maybe, just maybe, this is the spark needed to reignite the Formula 1 flame in India.
While Formula 1 has yet to make a comeback to the circuit, the shifting dynamics in India's motorsport landscape offer hope that one day, the roar of Formula 1 engines will once again echo through the Greater Noida circuit.
We'll keep our helmets on and our engines revving, ready for the day when the Grand Prix returns to the grid at Buddh.