The inaugural i1 Supercar Series will not commence on February 11 and will be postponed till January 2013 due to the commitments of drivers and franchise owners clashing with the revised schedule of the racing series that was originally due to commence last December.
"I have been in meetings with the franchise owners and drivers and they feel we are rushing things a bit," Machdar Motorsports CEO Darshan M told HT. "Now, due to the fact that Armaan (Ebrahim) will be racing in Indy Lights and Karun (Chandhok) will be racing in sportscars, we will be interrupting the schedule of the drivers."
"It is unfortunate that we have had to postpone the i1 Series to next year but in the long term, we feel this will benefit not only the series but motorsports in the country as well," said Darshan in a press release. "The change in race calendar due to polling in Uttar Pradesh was already affecting the availability of the international circuits as well participation of the key drivers in the series. This, along with the team owners' request for more time, made this decision unavoidable."
A need to market
Darshan also stated the need to market the series that was impressed upon him by the various franchise owners that include Shah Rukh Khan. "We will be doing a lot of promotional activities in various cities starting from April 8," said Darshan. "We will take two of the Radical cars and showcase them to people as yet unfamiliar with the series and the car."
"Marketing is the key to making any kind of activity successful," said Arindham Chaudhuri, the owner of the Delhi franchise in a press release. "We thus mutually agreed that the time proposed for the race was giving less scope to the team owners to hype the series through branding and marketing initiatives. I am happy that finally we have taken a decision and now we can really start on with the marketing activities that are required to make the series a grand success."
"We are relieved that the management has decided to postpone the start of the series," said Arjun Baljee, the owner of the Bangalore franchise in a press release.
"This will give us time to plan our brand strategy, bring in partner sponsors and drum up excitement over the next few months for the Bangalore team."
The driver line-up for the series will remain unchanged for next year according to Darshan with ex-Formula One drivers like Giancarlo Fisichella, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Mika Salo participating. The line up of the 27 drivers will be assigned to their various franchises in an NBA-style 'draft' on April 8, which is when the series will start its promotional activities.