'Race will be back to India in 2015'

Sameer Gaur, MD and CEO of JPSI, rubbishes rumours of F1 not returning to Buddh circuit

'Race will be back to India in 2015'

Jaypee Sports International, the promoter of the Indian Grand Prix, is used to rumours.

From speculations that revolved around their ‘inability to get the track ready in time’ to ‘the sheer impossibility of providing an international field with desired facilities’, JPSI have handled everything with the kind of vigour they has gone into making the Buddh International Circuit a reality.

Sameer Gaur, Managing Director and CEO of the JPSI, seemed unperturbed in the face of the latest rounds of rumours that the F1 race may not return to the circuit after this year. Deccan Herald caught up with Gaur at the paddock at the end of the second free practice session on Friday.

Excerpts:

Will the race return to BIC on 2015?

Who has from Jaypee said that the race would not be held? In 2011, everybody thought that the track will not be ready. We have shown India that we can make it happen. We made it happen in 2011. Why should we have any doubt that 2015 will not happen?

Then where are the speculations coming from?

I really don’t know where the speculations are coming from. These speculations, from the paddock, are very baseless.

Other circuits are coming up, are you losing out to them?

No, not all. Lots of rumours are doing rounds. But, as of now, we are not perturbed at all. We have a firm contract of five years -- extendable to ten. We have missed (the race) in 2014, but I am pretty sure we are on for 2015.

Is the licensing fee an issue?

Not at all. The race is not happening in 2014 because of logistics and nothing else. They wanted to run the race in March 2014 but I will not be able to get the track ready by that time. I did not want that. It was too close for me. I am saying with all my confidence that the race will happen (in 2015). I just wish everyone did their bit. We built a track and stuff but the government needs to step in and make use of tourism. Greater Noida should be the hub. I feel that it should be a festival like it is in Singapore or in Malaysia.

How disappointed are you with the government’s approach?

I am not disappointed at all. But having said that I feel the tourism department should do more. If I was part of the tourism department I would have said ‘I will join Jaypee and make it all a package deal’. That’s when motorsport will develop. We cannot make it happen individually. The price involved in attending the track is very high but if people got a package they will come in, and that in turn will benefit everyone.

Will the track be used during the course of that one-year break?

We will sit down and talk after a month or so about what can be done for the future. We are in talks with World Superbike promoters, so let’s see what we can do. They too want to run a race in March but we will not be able to do that either. I want to have the Superbike event running in October though. Whether logistics allow it or not, lets see.

Earlier you did not seem too confident about the continuation of the race from 2015. What can we attribute to the sudden change in dynamics?

I have never been low on confidence. We have never been bogged down. I’ve already bet my life on motorsport. So, I am willing to bet my life on the fact that the race will return.

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