When I take my car out to the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) at 10 in the morning on Friday (October 28) for free practice, it's going to be an emotionally historic moment for me. It will be the biggest day in my life as I will be driving in front of my home fans.
The journey has been really long for me. It all started with my first race in 1992. I have done several races thereafter, in almost all forms of the sport, but to drive in a Formula One race at home has been my dream. I am thrilled that it is finally happening.
It is going to be as big as my F1 debut in 2005 when I first drove for Jordan in Australia. The mood was electric out there. I did well to qualify in the 12th position that day.
The atmosphere at the BIC in Greater Noida is going to be equally electric with a large spectator turnout. And that's going to give me a special feeling. I may be driving for a small team (HRT) but I will take the chances. And whatever opportunities come my way I plan to make the best of them and drive my car to the finish line.
I am as fit as any other athlete. Before I got into F1, fitness was a different thing, but today it is a serious job for me. And looking forward to the Grand Prix of India, I have really worked hard on my fitness because I don't want to disappoint my people.
It's every driver's dream to be in a faster car, but it is difficult as there are only 24 cars and 12 teams on the grid. I have no regrets as I have become an F1 driver especially from this part of the world. I am living my dream.
The Grand Prix of India will create an awareness among the people here about F1. It will help me and the future drivers from India. If only the Grand Prix had happened a few years ago, it would have been a totally different story.
I am happy that in India F1 connects with me. Now I want to connect with my people. It's the right time and I have a few plans to gain their attention.
I have always used India colours on my helmet during races. For the Grand Prix of India, it's going to be different. My helmets will be of different designs, for Friday (during free practice) and Saturday (qualifying rounds). I have given the inputs to Art Rotondo, a big motorsport painter from Canada. I have decided to auction the newly designed helmets after the race, the proceeds of which will go to charity. I will use my regular helmet with the Indian flag on it for the race on October 30 as it connects me and my country to the rest of the world.
(As told to Rayan Rozario)