Expertise from the worldwide Formula Ford community helped to stage a successful support race programme at last weekend’s inaugural Indian Grand Prix. Several Formula Ford drivers took part in the two MRF Delhi Championship races and a party of British Formula Ford race engineers and mechanics travelled to the sub-continent to work behind the scenes.
One of the races was won by 2009 Australian Formula Ford Champion Nick Percat; he led home a field of 20 MRF Formula 1600 cars which included Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain drivers past and present Chrissy Palmer, Zaamin Jaffer, Alex Waters, Kourosh Khani and Philippe Layac.
The Indian single-seaters are based on a Van Diemen chassis and are powered by Ford’s 1.6-litre Duratec engine; bodywork aside, they are not far removed from the cars seen in action in Britain up to this season.
One of the travelling mechanics was ex-Formula Ford racer Linton Stuteley who, with his Enigma Motorsport colleague Tom Farquhar, put in many hours of work under the awning in the Buddh International Circuit paddock.
“It was a fascinating experience,” said Linton, “and great fun, although it may be many years before I tackle another curry. There were around 10 of us from Britain who made the trip to help them look after the cars, and we all had a brilliant time and thoroughly enjoyed it. There was a superb post-event paddock party as well. The cars were quite familiar to work on, though some of the local preparation concepts were a bit unusual.”
“This is a great reminder that Formula Ford is just as important to the development of the careers of engineers and technicians as it is to those of drivers,” said Sam Roach, Championship Manager of the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain. “For both technicians and drivers from the Formula Ford community to be invited to participate in the inaugural Indian Grand Prix meeting is a testament to the regard in which those associated with our formula are held around the world, as well as a great opportunity for the individuals concerned.”