Three-time Formula One world champion Sir Jackie Stewart has raised concerns over plans for the Indian Grand Prix to be omitted from the 2014 calendar in favor of an earlier slot in 2015, believing that it could hurt the race in the future.
“It is certainly not a good message the Indian Grand Prix is sending out to the motorsport world, and is not positive for India’s image when questions are raised about it,” Stewart explained in an interview with the Indo-Asian news service. “But as I am not aware of the implications involved, so it would be inappropriate for me to comment further.”
The Indian Grand Prix debuted back in 2011 and enjoyed a successful first running with a bumper crowd of well over 100,000 people. However, a fall in attendees of almost 50% last season has prompted the race promoters to cut ticket prices, but Bernie Ecclestone confirmed that the race would not appear on the 2014 calendar, raising questions about the future of the race. However, according to the president of the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India, this is purely to accommodate a grand prix in the spring of 2015.
Regardless of the plans being made, Stewart believes that it is crucial to keep the Indian Grand Prix on the calendar.
“F1 is now one of the largest sports in the world, simply because from March until the end of November, there is a race almost every two weeks with large car makers involved and a lot of major multi-national corporations joining it,” the Scot said. “So, I think it would be good and beneficial for India to have a Grand Prix, attracting the world’s attention for that weekend.”
This year’s race at Buddh International Circuit is set to take place on October 27th.