F1: Indian Grand Prix likely to be dropped in 2014
Formula One’s commercial head, Bernie Ecclestone, has told Reuters that the Indian Grand Prix is likely to be dropped from the 2014 race calendar. The move is aimed at accommodating the Russian Grand Prix, which is set to make its debut next season.
“Is India going to happen next year? Probably not,” Ecclestone said to Reuters at the Hungarian Grand Prix over the weekend.
With a total of 22 races already in the fray, the Indian Grand Prix is said to be in a fight with the Russian Grand Prix, which is set to make its debut next year, and another Grand Prix in New Jersey. The Austrian Grand Prix, which has been on an 11-year absence from the F1 calendar is also poised to make a comeback in 2014.
Most F1 teams are said to have indicated a preference to participate in a maximum of only 20 races next season, which could be a deciding factor in whether the ruling body decides to keep the Indian Grand Prix.
Bureaucratic hurdles along with concerns about finances and the high local taxation have been cited as the major reasons for the Indian Grand Prix’s likely axe next season. When Ecclestone was asked what the problem was with the race at Greater Noida, he replied: “Very political.”
Jaypee Sports International, who are the promoters of the event, had issued a statement last month dismissing the rumours regarding the scrapping of the event as “totally baseless and malicious” media speculation.
“Our agreement with Formula One Management is to hold F1 races at Buddh International Circuit (BIC) till 2015 and we are fully committed to do that,” said Jaypee spokesman Askari Zaidi in that statement. “There is no reason for us to give up hosting F1 races.”
The Indian Grand Prix has been held at the Buddh International Circuit at Greater Noida for the last two years. Red Bull’s triple world champion Sebastian Vettel has been the winner on both occasions.