Bernie Ecclestone says the Indian Grand Prix is likely to be dropped from the Formula One calendar next year.
Speaking to Reuters, Ecclestone said: “Is India going to happen next year? Probably not.”
He described the problems facing the race at the Buddh International Circuit as “political”.
Askari Zaidi of race promoters Jaypee Sports International said: “We have not got anything in writing from the Formula One management regarding the status of the 2014 Indian Grand Prix.” Jaypee have a contract to hold the grand prix until 2015.
Indian motorsport federation president Vicky Chandhok suggested one solution could be to postpone the next race at the track until 2015 while the problems are sorted out.
India held its first round of the world championship in 2011 at the purpose-built track in Greater Noida outside New Delhi. It proved a popular event but teams were unhappy at local attempts to levy taxes on their activities.
Next year’s calendar is under pressure as teams do not wish to see the schedule expand beyond twenty races. There are nineteen on this year’s calendar and a potential three more vying for a place.
Last week it was announced the Austrian Grand Prix will return to the calendar next year. A second race in the USA is also planned along with F1’s first visit to Russia for a grand prix at Sochi.
Although Bahrain has been lobbying to take over the coveted first round of the championship, Australia has been tipped to retain its place as the season-opener.
Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.
The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).
It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).
Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.
The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.
“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”
“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”