The president of the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India, Vicky Chandhok, is not concerned about the future of the Indian Grand Prix despite the race being axed from the 2014 calendar.
Earlier this week, Bernie Ecclestone confirmed that the race held at Buddh International Circuit had been axed for 2014, citing issues with taxation as being the reason behind its postponement. However, he also stated that the race would return in 2015 towards the beginning of the calendar, and Chandhok explained how this was the original plan.
“Other countries are also vying to host F1 races. And it is not easy to get a race. In 2000, I’d said we would try to host a race. We finally succeeded in 2011, thanks to JPSI. The number of races may go up in 2014, and that’s why we will not host the 2014 race,” Chandhok told DNA India.
“Initially, when the calendar was planned, the Indian GP was slotted in the early part of the year and clubbed with other races in the region like Malaysia, China, Bahrain and Australia. But the BIC [Buddh International Circuit] was ready, and that is why we hosted the race in October 2011.”
Therefore, the race needed to revert to the beginning of the calendar in the near future, but this could only happen with the circuit missing a year.
“Now again, they are looking at having the Indian GP early in the year. To have a race in October 2014 and then early in 2015 is not feasible financially and logistically,” Chandhok explained. “That’s why the 2014 race was cancelled and the contract signed — originally for 2011 to 2015 — will be extended to 2016. Yes, Malaysia did host races but they have ample government support as they see huge benefits in them.”
Therefore, the Indian Grand Prix’s future appears to be secure despite attendance figures falling in the past two years, prompting the promoters to slash ticket prices to as little as $32 for three days.
Carlos Sainz Jr.
Teams: Scuderia Toro Rosso (1-16), Renault (17-20)
Car No.: 33
Best Finish: P4 (Singapore)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Championship Position: 9th
Carlos Sainz Jr. has always been compared to Max Verstappen given their relative rise and stint together at Toro Rosso, but the Spaniard began to forge his own impressive path through 2017, securing himself a works drive with Renault in the process.
Alongside the struggling Daniil Kvyat for much of the season, Sainz led Toro Rosso’s charge, scoring 48 of its 53 points with a string of impressive drives. His headline moment came in Singapore when he matched Verstappen’s best result in Toro Rosso colors by finishing fourth, capitalizing on the start-line crash and the wet weather with a strong display.
Sainz’s displays led to a call from Renault, who announced just two days before his star display in Singapore he would be joining up for 2018 on loan from Red Bull. However, the deal was accelerated after a deal was brokered to secure Jolyon Palmer’s departure, allowing Sainz to join up from the United States GP onwards.
Sainz made an immediate impression, completing a perfect race en route to seventh on debut for Renault to secure six points that would prove crucial in the final constructors’ championship standings as the French team beat Toro Rosso to P6 in the standings at the last race of the year.
Red Bull retains an option on Sainz’s future beyond 2018, making him a candidate for a seat with its senior team should Daniel Ricciardo opt to leave. Failing that, Renault could offer Sainz the platform he needs to continue his rapid rise in F1 and establish himself at the front of the pack for many years to come.
Season High: Finishing fourth in Singapore after dodging the start-line drama.
Season Low: Crashing out in his final Toro Rosso appearance on the first lap at Suzuka.