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Friday, October 26, 2012

Buddh F1 Circuit - Ferrari and Enrica Lexie connection

One a Sport and the other killings at Indian coast – miles apart, still some connection !

For sports lovers, the attention is now on Formula one at Buddh International Circuit – an Indian one occurring at Greater Noida at that.  The F1 race is crucial for the home team Sahara Force India, which is locked in a battle with Sauber for the sixth position at constructors' table.  As you would know, Formula one race of Grand Prix is a famous International racing circuit.  The newly built venue at Greater Noida, UP on Yamuna Express Highway is the venue for annual Formula One Indian Grand Prix approved internationally and participated by greatest of racing champions from abroad.   The venue first hosted the Grand Prix in 2011 and now set to host the second one now.  

At Sea, there are the ‘perils of the sea’ – but not this one faced by the Indian fishermen in their own coast near Cochi waters.  On that ill-fated 15th Feb 2012, an Italian Oil tanker ‘Enrica Lexie’ was involved in a shoot out.  Described as a cold-blooded murder by trigger happy Italian marines, 2 fishermen aboard a fishing boat ‘St. Antony’ from Kollam in Kerala were killed  in Arabian Sea closer to  Thottappally coast in Alappuzha district.  There were reports that the security men – the Italian Marines on board mistook the fishing boat to be pirate skunk and hence fired at them. 

Later the Coast Guard forced the Italian ship Enrica Lexie to anchor off Kochi and the Italian Marines Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone were arrested and lodged in jail.  More drama unfolded as there were series of debate on jurisdiction, action, and more and some diplomatic threat.  All that is history.   During the proceedings in the trial court in Kollam, the two Italian marines, submitted a panel of four translators from English to Italian. After more than 100 days in custody, they were granted bail with stringent conditions – one of them being their stay in Kochi.  There were reports of  Italian Consul General in Mumbai Giampalo Cuttillo and other officials  present as the marines were driven off to a hotel at the nearby Wellington Island.  Further reports suggested that Italy's Prime Minister Mario Monti expressed “great satisfaction” over the release on bail of the two marines, but called for their return to Italy.

Today [26th Oct 2012]  at Buddh circuit, Sebastian Vettel was three tenths of a second faster than McLaren’s Jenson Button while his chief title rival Fernando Alonso of Ferrari was third fastest. Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time in Friday’s opening practice for the Indian Grand Prix, boosting his hopes of taking a fourth successive race win and extending his Formula One championship lead.

Vettel’s string of three successive wins in the Asian swing of the season has seen him overtake Alonso in the drivers’ championship standings, six points ahead of the Ferrari driver who has now gone half a dozen races without a win.  Fernando Alonso Díaz is  Spanish Formula One racing driver and a two-time World Champion, who is currently racing for Scuderia Ferrari.  Nicknamed El Nano, a typical pseudonym for Fernando in Asturias, his place of birth, Alonso acts as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF.  Scuderia Ferrari is the racing team division of the Ferrari automobile marque.  The team's current drivers are Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.

When the flaming red cars of Ferrari zip around the Buddh international circuit this Saturday, it will not all be just about sports, but also about making a diplomatic point. The cars will be carrying the flag of the Italian Navy -- a pointed reference to the two Italian sailors, accused of killing two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala, and currently in India for trial.  “Scuderia Ferrari will carry the flag of the Italian Navy on the cars driven by Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa in this weekend’s Indian Grand Prix,” said a press release issued by the iconic Italian auto company’s racing car division, Scuderia Ferrari.  It added that it was also hoping the Indian and Italian authorities would soon find a solution to the situation currently involving two sailors from the Italian Navy.

Photo courtesy : The Economic Times

The Italian government had appealed to the Supreme Court that the Indian government did not have jurisdiction over the case and the sailors should be sent back home, where they could be tried for their crime. The Supreme Court had completed the proceeding in September, but the judgment had been reserved. The Kollam court had postponed the trial of the two sailors till November 8, in anticipation of the Supreme Court judgment.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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