The late 2000s and early 2010s was a very good time for Indian motorsports with two drivers - Karun Chandok and Narain Karthikeyan, competing in Formula 1. This naturally led to quite an increase in the popularity of the sport in India with more and more people drawn towards it.
This was also a time when there existed something called the Indian Grand Prix - an annual race in the F1 World Championships. The very first edition of the Indian Grand Prix was held in the year 2011 with Sebastian Vettel walking away with the top spot on the podium.
It was held for two more seasons, in 2012 and 2013, with Vettel winning those two as well, before being scrapped altogether.
But, where was the Indian Grand Prix held?
The F1 race was held on a track called the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh. The 5.14-kilometre long track was specially built to develop and popularise Formula 1 in India. It was inaugurated in September 2011 - one year after it was originally supposed to be and hosted its first race, the Indian Grand Prix in the following month.
The track was world class. It received appreciation from drivers across the world, with the undisputed champion of the Buddh International Circuit, Sebastian Vettel, terming it to be 'one of the most challenging tracks of the world.'
While this was supposed to bring an F1 revolution in India, things went downhill soon after. The Indian Grand Prix found itself in a tax dispute with the Uttar Pradesh Government and no F1 race has ever been held again in India.
The infamous exit of the Indian Grand Prix from the F1 World Championships not only reduce the popularity of the sport in the country but also threw the Buddh International Circuit into relative obscurity.
What has happened to Buddh International Circuit since then?
The Buddh International Circuit still exists in the National Captial Region (NCR) and hosts various smaller races. From being considered to be one of the best F1 tracks in the world, it has gone to hosting smaller events like the JK Tyre National Racing Championships.
It even hosted a Truck racing championship in 2017 and is also used by manufacturers and automobile journalists to review newly launched cars.
The Buddh International Circuit was sealed by the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) over non-payment of dues in early 2020. The track however is still operational, with the owners - Jaypee Group, having challenged the YEIDA's action in court.
Moreover, the Buddh International Circuit also opened its door to give shelter to the exodus of migrant workers during the very first covid-19 imposed lockdown in March 2020.