India will hold its first Formula One race in 2010, the head of the Indian Olympic Association said on Monday.
"Formula One's architects visited New Delhi and saw several sites in the National Capital Region. They did an aerial survey and selected two sites - in Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh and Sohna in Haryana," IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi told reporters. Both areas are suburbs of New Delhi and it's been left to India to choose between the two shortlisted venues, he said.
Kalmadi said he met Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone in London last week to discuss the matter in detail. "We're happy to say that the first race has been finalized for 2010," Kalmadi said.
Formula One handed India two contracts - one a race promotion contract and the second a circuit rights agreement, Kalmadi said. Earlier this year Kalmadi said F1 may come to the country by 2009.
The New Delhi area does not currently have a motor racing track, but Kalmadi said the IOA, together with the government, would build one. In the past he ruled out a street race.
While F1 is not an Olympic event, the IOA is involved as part of its attempt to bring as many major sporting events as possible to New Delhi ahead of the city's staging of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Kalmadi said the race, proposed in 2009, would now be held in the early part of 2010 and the final contract to hold the race would be at least 10 years or more.
"It has been finalised to organise the race in the early part of 2010. It could be in March or after the Bahrain Grand Prix."
"It would be a minimum of 10 years contract. It could be even more than that," he said.
On a later date Tilke will visit India again to design the masterplan for the circuit to be laid here.
Kalmadi, however, refused to reply how much IOA would pay FIA on the head of race promotion fee, saying "it is confidential."
He hoped that the expenses to lay the track would be lesser than that in other countries and the IOA, in the long run, would make profit from it.
"We have to see the costs in India. Labour is not costly here. Then we have to look at the raw material."
"Hopefully we will make profit. But it is not an easy task. The challenge is not the Grand Prix, but how to use the track for 365 days," Kalmadi said.
The seasoned sports administrator said IOA would seek the support of Vijay Mallya, leading business tycoon and Formula One team Spyker's owner, in making the Grand Prix a success in India.
"He supports IOA. He is interested in Fourmula One. We would like to have good relations with Vijay Mallya. We will involve and take the cooperation of different bodies who are connected with motorsports in India," he said.