Hopes of a revival for the Indian Grand Prix in the next few years have been raised after the Indian government recognized the national federation for motorsport, the Federation of Motor Sport Clubs of India (FMSCI), for the first time in four years.
The first Indian Grand Prix was held on the outskirts of New Delhi at the Buddh International Circuit back in 2011, but was dropped after just three editions.
A step in the right direction appears to have been made though, with Press Trust of India reporting that the Indian government has now added the FMSCI to a list of recognized federations.
“This can only be good for Indian motorsports,” FMSCI member Vicky Chandhok said. “Interestingly, the government never de-recognized FMSCI, it just took the body off the list in 2011 and it has re-recognised us.
“And the reason there was a lot of criticism surrounding government’s apathy towards motorsport was because that was the time when Formula 1 came to India for the first time. Indian motorsports was in the limelight like never before.”
However, the report also notes that this is unlikely to affect negotiations between the race promoter, Jaypee Group, and Formula One Management, given that the FMSCI will not receive any financial backing.
Speaking to this writer back in July 2014, Force India team principal Vijay Mallya confirmed that the government would be unable to aid efforts to revive the grand prix.
“I think it would be asking for too much for the government to financially subsidize a sport such as Formula 1 which is, at the best of times, could be considered elitist,” Mallya said.
“It would perhaps be politically incorrect because people would argue that if the government had cash, they should spend it more on the poor of India than on something like Formula 1.
“But there is really no need for any government intervention here. A private group has built the track, and they are the promoters. I think basically the issues are between the race promoters and the commercial rights holder which is Bernie [Ecclestone].”
Although government recognition of the FMSCI may mean little in terms of reviving the grand prix, it is nevertheless a positive step for motorsport in India, which in turn could help its F1 dream.