Force India boss saddened by loss of home race for 2014

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Force India team owner Vijay Mallya has expressed his dismay over the loss of the Indian Grand Prix for 2014, but he is confident that the race will return in the near future.

Bernie Ecclestone confirmed a few weeks ago that the race would not feature on the congested calendar for next season, with the organizers going on to reveal that this was in order to secure an early slot on the 2015 schedule. However, Mallya believes that – regardless of the reason – the loss of the race is a great shame.

“To miss a year for whatever reason is obviously disappointing,” he is quoted as saying by Autosport. “Racing schedules are obviously important, but whether a country as important as India should miss out on a race in one calendar year is a debatable question.

“I am hoping that we will see the race back in India in 2015 if Bernie has decided that there cannot be a race in 2014, because according to him the calendar cannot accommodate it. But I think Bernie is smart enough to understand the enormous potential that there is in India. I don’t think he will take a short-term view.”

The Indian economy is one of the fastest-growing in the world, making it an important market for Formula One. However, the race promoters are adamant that the race has a future despite skipping 2014.

Incidentally, today marks the sixth anniversary of Vijay Mallya’s buy-out of the old Spyker team, which was renamed ‘Force India’ the following season.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.