Friday, November 15, 2019
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Bernie Ecclestone casts doubt on Indian Grand Prix future

New Delhi: Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has contended that the promoters of the Indian Grand Prix have not fully met their contractual obligations to see through the five-year deal.

The Indian promoters, the Jaypee Group, in a polite yet firm retort, refused to discuss the contractual terms in public. They have promised to sort them out with the Formula One Management (FOM). Ecclestone said from his London office that he and his organisation was still committed to see through the five-year contract, provided what he called certain “surmountable obstacles” were sorted out.

He said the Indian GP promoters have not fully complied with the race contract to put the 2015 race in jeopardy. The GP has already been dropped from the 2014 calendar. It now seems that the tax and bureaucratic hurdles cited for the uncertainty over the race returning to the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) were not the only reasons.

Ecclestone’s revelation comes days after he said that he wants the race to be pushed to 2016 so that the country “gradually gets over all the bureaucratic and the tax issues to improve the general financial conditions”. His statement fuelled speculation whether the race will ever see through the remaining two races of the contract.

Ecclestone hastened to add that he was still hoping India to be back on F1 calendar next season.

“I was hoping that things would get better in India but they haven’t unfortunately. The race promoters there have not been able to comply with parts of the contract and they are mostly money related.

“I must clarify here that we still have very good relations with the promoters and we still want to see through the remaining two years of our contract. But that can happen only if we get the financial guarantees,” said the 83-year-old, adding that Jaypee did meet most of the terms of the agreement in the first three years (2011-2013).

For his part, Jaypee Sports International CEO Sameer Gaur told IANS that it would not be prudent to make the contractual details public and reiterated he would soon meet Ecclestone to bring the race back next year.