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.