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Indian GP faces axe in 2014

2013-07-29 09:39


FIRST TIME AROUND: Smog blanketed the Buddh track near New Delhi during the inaugural F1 GP there in 2011. Sebastian Vettle took the honours. Image: AFP

BUDAPEST, Hungary - The Indian Formula 1 GP scheduled for 2014 is likely to be dropped in favour of a Russian race debut.

F1's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone, asked about India after the 2013 Hungarian GP, said: "Is India going to happen next year? Probably not."

Asked what the problem was with the race at Greater Noida, near New Delhi, the 82-year-old British billionaire replied: "Very political."

Ecclestone, who has run F1 for decades, draws up the calendar and usually presents it to the governing International Automobile Federation to be rubber-stamped in September each year. He has a possible 22 races jostling for a calendar slot with teams expressing a strong preference for a maximum of 20.


Russia, with a debut race pencilled in for the Black Sea resort of Sochi towards the end of 2014, and a GP in New Jersey are the two novelties planned for 2014 with Austria also due to make a comeback after 11 years.

India first hosted a GP in 2011 to positive reviews from the F1 community and 2013's is scheduled for October 27 as Round 16 of the 19-race championship. Its two races so far were won by Red Bull's triple World champion Sebastian Vettel.

There have been bureaucratic hurdles, however, as well as concern about finances and the sport's exposure to high local taxes. Promoter Jaypee Sports International issued a statement in June 2013 attacking "totally baseless and malicious" media speculation about the 2014 race. Jaypee spokesman Askari Zaidi said in that statement: "Our agreement with Formula One Management is to hold F1 races at Buddh International Circuit until 2015 and we are committed to do that.

"There is no reason for us to give up hosting F1 races."

The 2014 Indian GP was the subject of much discussion in Hungary with teams recognising it faced problems but hoping they could be resolved. Sauber's Indian-born team principal Monisha Kaltenborn told Reuters: "It would be a pity if for these (tax) reasons we don't go there. India is an important market for partners who are already in F1 or who could get into F1 because of that market.

"It really would be a pity if we would not manage to sort out these problems."
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