2014 In­dian GP could be scrapped

The Political and Business Daily - - FRONT PAGE - PBD BUREAU/PTI

NEW DELHI: The In­dian Grand Prix could be dropped from the next year's For­mula One ros­ter, putting a pre­ma­ture end to In­dia's con­tro­ver­sial foray into the world of high speed cars.

THE In­dian Grand Prix could be dropped from the next year's For­mula One ros­ter, putting a pre­ma­ture end to In­dia's con­tro­ver­sial foray into the world of high speed cars.

For­mula One supremo Bernie Ec­cle­stone said that In­dia is likely to lose its place on the 2014 F1 cal­en­dar as he in­tends to limit the num­ber of races to 20.

"Is In­dia go­ing to hap­pen next year? Prob­a­bly not," Ec­cle­stone was quoted as say­ing by Reuters news agency in Bu­dapest where the Hun­gar­ian Grand Prix con­cluded on Sun­day.

Asked about the rea­son, the 82-year-old Ec­cle­stone replied: "Very po­lit­i­cal."

The fate of In­dia host­ing the 2014 F1 GP will now be de­cided in the World Motorsport Coun­cil meet­ing in Septem­ber where Ec­cle­stone is ex­pected to present the pro­vi­sional 2014 cal­en­dar to the gov­ern­ing In­ter­na­tional Au­to­mo­bile Fed­er­a­tion.

In­dia hosted its con­tro- versy-marred first Grand Prix in 2011 amidst rav­ing re­views from the F1 com­mu­nity about the 5.14 kilo­me­tre-long Buddh In­ter­na­tional Cir­cuit (BIC), clean pad­dock and fa­cil­i­ties.

This year, the third edi­tion of the race is sched­uled for Oc­to­ber 27 at Greater Noida as the 16th round of the 19-race cham­pi­onship. But with Rus­sia, New Jersey and Aus­tria now short­li­ested as ad­di­tions, there are 22 venues vy­ing for a place on the F1 cal­en­dar with teams ex­press­ing a pref­er­ence for a max­i­mum of 20 races.

It is be­lieved that tough tax­a­tion rules in In­dia, event's fi­nan­cial vi­a­bil­ity and bu­reau­cratic hur­dles might have prompted Ec­cle­stone to come up with such a state­ment.

Only Last month, race pro­mot­ers Jaypee Sports In­ter­na­tional (JPSI) had is­sued a state­ment re­spond­ing to ru­mours that the race could be axed from 2014.

"Some in­ter­na­tional news or­gan­i­sa­tions are try­ing to spread ru­mours that JPSI may not host 2014 In­dian GP. This is to­tally base­less and ma­li­cious. Our agree­ment with For­mula One Man­age­ment is to hold F1 races at Buddh In­ter­na­tional Cir­cuit (BIC) till 2015, and we are fully com­mit­ted to do that," the JPSI state­ment read.

How­ever, the cur­rent de­vel­op­ment has left the In­dian race or­gan­is­ers in a spot of bother as they look to open a back-chan­nel talk with the F1 supremo ahead of the World Motorsport Coun­cil meet­ing in Septem­ber.

"We are look­ing to hold talks with Ec­cle­stone as to what prompted him to make such a state­ment. There is a pos­si­bil­ity that some amend­ments could be worked out in the cur­rent con­tract to keep our place in the F1 cal­en­dar," a JPSI spokesper­son told PTI.

"Ev­ery­thing de­pends on the Septem­ber meet­ing where the pro­vi­sional 2014 cal­en­dar will be drawn up. The driv­ers want a max­i­mum of 20 races and with the likely ad­di­tion of three new venues, ev­ery­thing rest in the hands of Ec­cle­stone," said the of­fi­cial.

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