However, as reported by Mail Today on July 30, the 82- year- old Ecclestone has indicated that there might be a race in the first half of 2015.
The Briton had said on Monday that there might be some political reasons for the Indian GP not happening in 2014. On Tuesday, Ecclestone told a news agency that it was only on the insistence of the Indian promoters, Jaypee Sports, the Formula One Management ( FOM) had acceded to have a race in the later part of the year during the first two editions ( 2011 and 2012).
Ecclestone added that though the FOM gave in at that time, it was not possible for it to do the same in 2014. FOM has a five- year contract with the Jaypee Sports running till 2016.
Ecclestone said that the 2014 edition was not feasible as it would mean that there will be two F1 races within a span of six months, if another race happens in early 2015. He added that he had already talked with the promoters about it.
Sameer Gaur, managing director of Jaypee Sports International, the promoters of the race, said though they would have preferred an October race, they are comfortable with a race in early 2015. “ October- November period suits us better both weather- wise as well as it being festive season, but if Formula One management wants us to hold our race in March 2015, we don’t have any problem with that,” said Gaur.
After Ecclestone had raised his doubts over the 2014 Indian GP on Monday, sources in Jaypee Sports had told M AIL T ODAY that a negotiation might be on cards with the F1 head and his FOM, so that their five- year contract can be honoured.
“ We all know that Bernie is a master of negotiation and we believe he is only talking about the 2014 race [ being shelved]. We seem to be heading towards a scenario where we may get a March- April slot in 2015 and the year after that too, since we signed a five- race contract starting in 2011,” the source had said.
“ That way, our contract will get honoured and it could benefit us too because an early season slot generally makes for a more exciting and meaningful race than we’ve had the chance to host so far.” Ecclestone had earlier said that with the things being ‘ very political’ in India, the 2014 edition was “ probably not” going to happen.
Speculation is rife that Ecclestone is miffed with the tough taxation rules and the bureaucratic hurdles in India, as well as the trouble caused in importing equipment into the country.
Also, Jaypee has to pay $ 40 million as the license fee to FOM, with an increase of 10 per cent every year, to bring the race to India. The promoters are reportedly unhappy with the huge cost.
The axing of Indian GP comes as two new races in Russia and New Jersey are set to enter the calendar next year. Also, Formula One returns to Austria after a gap of 11 years. With the teams vehemently opposing more than 20 races in a year, Ecclestone’s move also indicates that he has given in to that demand.
The first Indian GP was held in 2011 which saw a spectatorship of 90,000 but it fell to 65,000 in 2012. The 2013 edition of the event will be held on October 27.
The reducing number of spectators also prompted Ecclestone to say that the third year of the race is very important for the success of the race.