Indian GP set to return to F1 calendar in 2017?
The first ever Indian Grand Prix held at the Buddh International Circuit in 2011 seemed like the start of a whole new chapter for Indian motorsport. However, after hosting Formula 1 in India for the contracted three years, it came as no surprise that the BIC didn't feature on the F1 calendar in 2014. There were issues that the sport as a whole faced, with political red tape and taxation woes causing the teams considerable grief. However, despite the fact that the track has been written off by many people, OVERDRIVE has learnt that there is a plan of action in place to bring Formula 1 back to India and to the Buddh International Circuit.
At the recently concluded Russian Grand Prix at Sochi, we learnt that a high level meeting took place between Sameer Gaur, managing director and chief executive officer of JPSI, and Bernie Ecclestone, chief executive of the Formula 1 Group. The aim of the meeting was to work out the possibility of the Indian GP replacing the Russian GP on the F1 calendar in 2017, once the Russian GP's three-year contract runs out. OVERDRIVE has also learned that a part of the plan to bring Formula 1 back to India involves government involvement at a high and crucial level to sort of bureaucratic issues that have otherwise plagued the race.
On speaking to OVERDRIVE, Sameer Gaur stated, "JPSI is very keen on bringing Formula 1 back to India and having the BIC host the Indian GP once again, however we have no timeline in place for this." On being asked about the meeting between JPSI and Ecclestone, Gaur declined to comment.
Do we believe that the Indian GP will make it back to the BIC in the future? It could be a real possibility. The racetrack with all its facilities is already there. JPSI, by their own admission, are keen on having the race back at the venue. And if the government can indeed be persuaded to help with the rather hefty licensing fee that Formula 1 demands, and sort out the other issues that the teams have faced, there should be no reason for it to not make a comeback.