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Three more races certain at BIC

india Updated: Jul 30, 2013 03:32 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Russia and Austria are slated to have an F1 race next year as is New Jersey in the US. Thailand has also been hailed as a future venue by the sport's CEO Bernie Ecclestone.

The calendar already stretches to 19 races and is set to burgeon to 22 unless some of the existing fixtures are cancelled. As such, some tweaking is surely in the offing.

As of now the Concorde Agreement restricts total races in a year to 20 as more races mean heightened expenditure for the 11 teams.

For the calendar to expand, Ecclestone will have to get the teams on board. At the same time, taking more races outside of the traditional catchment area of Europe and America is essential for the financial health of F1 given the economic woes plaguing these regions.

Lot of speculation
"I have spoken to both Bernie and Sameer Gaur (Jaypee Sports International, MD and CEO). There is a lot of speculation out there just on account of a few words said by Bernie. F1 stays committed to a total of five races in India.

It is possible that the 2014 race be dropped and instead we have races in 2015 and 2016," said Vicky Chandhok, president of the Indian motorsports federation.

Asked about some tax issue being raised as a possible concern for dropping India from the calendar, Vicky said: "We are surprised where that is coming from. Bernie categorically told me there was no such issue."

However, it appears that the bureaucracy in getting cars and equipment into India has been a major issue. The India government looks at the F1 race as a private initiative and has not gone out of its way to support it.

As to whether India will have a race in 2014 or not will only be finalised when the FIA calendar committee meets mid-August.

Packed schedule
The main reason for dropping India is likely to be a possible bunching up of the Asian races after Australia. So, it might make better sense for Formula One Management (FOM) to drop the 2014 Indian GP instead of holding two races in a nascent market within the span of just about five months.

The Jaypee Group said that it is yet to hear anything officially from FOM.

While three more F1 races are most likely to be held in India — 2014 being uncertain for now — it remains to be seen as to whether FOM renews the contract beyond the initial five years.

Attendance for the second edition of the Indian GP fell and unless something drastic is done to enhance the spectator experience, things aren't looking up even this year given that interest in motorsport does not appear to be growing.

Further, Jaypee has not been doing too well in the stock market of late and one can't be certain if the group has the resources to keep sinking money into hosting the F1 circus.