Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone speaks to the media after meeting with Formula One team officials to discuss the Bahrain F1 race at the Shanghai International Circuit. Formula One teams are reportedly reluctant to race in Bahrain this season amid ongoing concerns over security in the country. AFP Photo/ Mark Ralston
The fate of the 2014 Formula One Indian Grand Prix, previous editions of which were held at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, hangs in the balance.
On the sidelines of the Hungarian race, F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said on Monday: "Is India going to happen next year? Probably not." Asked to elaborate, he added a cryptic: "Very political."
Vicky Chandhok, president of the Indian motorsports federation and Ecclestone's close acquaintance, said: "In 2015, F1 is looking to start earlier than the usual March. This means that the 2014 calendar will have to be wrapped up earlier than November. As such, some races like India (held towards October-end) may be dropped."
But that does not mean an end to the Indian GP. The Jaypee Group is reportedly paying to the tune of $45 million as rights fee for each race. Its contract with the F1 management calls for five races, with the first held in 2011.
"If the 2014 race is dropped, the Indian GP will be held in 2015 and 2016," Chandhok said. As for the 'political' aspect, he added: "Bernie told me he was alluding to the pressures arising out of expanding the calendar. He was not talking about politics in India."