Formula One threatens to dump India over high tax, red tape

Formula One threatens to dump India over high tax, red tape

Formula One threatens to dump India over high tax, red tape

 Formula Indian Grand Prix has come under a cloud with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone stating that the event at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, near New Delhi, might not find a place in the 2014 calendar.

The 82-year-old business tycoon said it was possible that the Grand Prix could be taken off the calendar due to “political” reasons.

"Is India going to happen next year? Probably not," Ecclestone told reporters on the sidelines of the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest, adding that the reasons were “very political.”

Ecclestone may have been referring to the taxation laws that have troubled the series since they landed in India for the inaugural edition in 2011 and also the various bureaucratic passages they had to take for their large cargo to clear customs.

Teams and organisers were asked to shell out an exorbitant sum on account of ‘luxury tax’ as the Union sports ministry still does not recognise Formula One as a sport, while delays in customs clearance made life difficult for all parties involved. In 2012, when the Formula One bandwagon raised the issue, Federation of Motor Sports Clubs in India (FMSCI) and Jaypee Sports International (JPSI) — owners of the Buddh circuit — “smoothened out the matter” but neither issue was successfully sorted out.

Another factor that could impede the conduct of the race is an unusually packed 2014 calendar.

Ecclestone, who will be presenting a refurbished calendar at the World Motorsport Council meeting in September, has shown keen inclination towards making it a 22-race series by including Sochi and New Jersey while bringing back Austria after a gap of eleven years.

Since the teams are against the move, Ecclestone will in all probability compromise one race, making it a 21-race affair, and the Indian GP looks to be the perfect candidate for the chop at the moment.

Given that the 2015 Indian Grand Prix was expected to be held sometime in March as per original plans, it would be a logistical nightmare to have the race run in late 2014 (October) and also in early 2015 once again.

Formula One has a five-year contract with JPSI but if Ecclestone has his way, there is little they or the FMSCI can do.

The ‘circus’ will arrive in India for the third edition in October, but the air will be heavy with what the future has in store for the BIC.