Bernie Ecclestone gives two months deadline to Indian GP promoters for 2016 race
Bernie Ecclestone has put the onus on the organisers of the Indian Grand Prix - the Jaypee Group - to get the race back on the F1 map in 2016. The Buddh International Circuit hosted three editions of the Indian GP between 2011 and 2013 before being dropped from the calendar in 2015 due to taxation and bureaucratic issues.
Since then, the Indian government has dropped custom duties on cars brought for the sole purpose of racing, saving organisers somewhere around Rs 9 crore. More recently, country’s motorsport federation - FMSCI - was recognised by the government.
However, the financial troubles of the debt-ridden Jaypee Group has meant that the race’s future remains in jeopardy. But if the organisers are in a position to pay the hosting fee, Ecclestone is willing to complete his obligation.
“I hope we have a race in India next year. I am waiting for the promoters to come back to me,” Ecclestone told the Press Trust of India. We will do whatever is needed to make sure India is back. There are no added challenges to the event. We just need the Jaypee Group to say that 'we are happy to carry on' and we can revive the existing contract.”
The promoters have been given a deadline of two months to show their formal expression of interest.
“They need to be in a hurry. Within the next two months, we need to know,” he added.
According to JPSI’s accounts, the company paid Rs 250 crore($ 39 mn) as race hosting fee in 2013. The figure has risen sharply by Rs 50 crore from the first edition of the race, indicating the existence of a 10% escalation clause in the contract.