Report: Indian government recognizes national motorsport federation, aiding F1 hopes

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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.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III