• Indian Grand Prix

Chandhok fears for Indian GP future

ESPN Staff
October 23, 2013 « Ferrari needs to improve - Allison | Montezemolo promises 'fight to the bitter end' »
Vicky Chandhok is concerned a lack of interest could cause Formula One to drop the Indian Grand Prix © Sutton Images

This year's Indian Grand Prix could be the last in the country, according to president of the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India, Vicky Chandhok.

The race is not on the 2014 calendar but is planned to return at an earlier slot in 2015, with the official reason being given that India could not logistically organise two races in five months. However, Chandhok is worried that a lack of support for the race could see it drop off the calendar for good.

"If it doesn't come back in 2015, it may never come back at all," Chandhok told The Guardian. "That is my concern. Once you lose a race it can be gone for ever. That is why I am calling on everyone in India to make this Sunday's race an event to remember, so everyone in Formula One will realise that it needs the Indian Grand Prix.

"If we lose it, I would be very disappointed, because it took us 10 years to get the race in the first place. It was in 1999 that Bernie Ecclestone [the sport's commercial rights holder] first had talks with organisers and sponsors in India."

Chandhok explained the logic behind the break next year, but was keen to stress the benefits of the race for India.

"Basically there were two reasons. First, Bernie [Ecclestone] wanted to switch the race to March but there was no way we could stage two races in five months. Second, everything has become a lot more expensive.

"This race has been good for the economy for the past two years. Hotels and taxi drivers have been busy and so have other workers. The taxpayers have not been paying for it. It has been a private promoter. India is now recognised worldwide as making great technological advances. So F1 makes sense. It is more than just a sporting occasion. It is an event capable of encouraging people all over the world. It is good for India and good for its government."