• Indian Grand Prix

Indian GP boss steps down

ESPNF1 Staff
January 24, 2011 « Australian Grand Prix boss hits back at criticism over costs | »
Mark Hughes: "I'm still a consultant and advisor to the Jaypee organisation to help them get ready for the first grand prix" © Sutton Images
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The chief organiser of the Indian Grand Prix has resigned and moved into a consultation role, but insists the circuit is still on schedule for this year's inaugural race on October 30.

Mark Hughes, who has worked on circuit projects in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, has decided to take a step back from his role as vice president of JPSK Sport for personal reasons. A spokesman for the Jaypee Group, which is behind the project, told AFP: "Mark Hughes is no longer working with us, he left due to his own personal reasons."

But Hughes told ESPNF1 that he still has a close relationship with the project in Greater Noida and will continue to help Jaypee through to the first race.

"I've left India but I'm still associated with the project," he said. "I've actually moved back to the Middle East, but I'm still a consultant and advisor to the Jaypee organisation to help them get ready for the first grand prix."

When asked if he had fallen out with the organisers, Hughes said: "No not at all. My family are in the Middle East, I've come back here. I'm doing work with the Yas Marina circuit [in Abu Dhabi], but a condition of doing work at Yas Marina was that I could continue to help the Indians. In fact the Indians were here last week looking at Yas Marina and we were helping them get an understanding of the setup for F1 with customs clearance, freight handling and everything associated with hosting a grand prix."

Hughes insists the Indian project is still on track to meet its July homologation deadline and could well be ready before then.

"The plan is to have the track and the track infrastructure ready by July, which is the deadline for FIA homologation," he said. "My counterpart on the construction side is confident he will have it ready by May, but actually July is our deadline.

"The first asphalt is ready to go down this month and the sub-base is ready, all the earthworks have been finished. The first layer of asphalt is due to go down at the end of January."