The Indian GP has completed three races out of the five-race contract ever since its launch in 2011; however, it now seems that India will not be witnessing the 300 km/hr action anytime soon at the Buddh International Circuit. Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone confirmed that the motorsport event will not come back to the country in 2015, while India was off the F1 calendar this year as well. The problems cited for F1 to shy away from the country are the taxation issues and the bureaucracy that have left the teams and the F1 management in bitter taste.
Considering that Formula One is classified as entertainment rather than a sport in India, it leads to different taxation norms. Moreover, the considerable bureaucracy involved governing the import equipment has also been an obstacle for hosting F1 motorsport event. Organizers Jaypee Sports International Limited’s (JPSI) financial issues have also been a hindrance in the overall development of F1 in India. JPSI has to pay a race hosting fees in excess of $40 ,illion to the Formula One Management (FOM), as well as Rs. 10 crore each year for the National Sports Development Fund, the customs duty on behalf of the FOM and the teams in the BIC paddock during the race.
JPSI is trying to receive some consideration from the government that will make it easier for them to organize the motorsport event. Ever since its launch in the country back in 2011, the overall attitude from the government towards F1 has been the same. The fact that Formula One is not even a recognized sporting event in the country speaks volumes about how the government is treating the world famous event. Akbar Ebrahim, chairman of the Indian motorsports governing body FMSCI have already submitted the needed documentation required to gain recognition from the sports ministry and said that the dialogue process will only commence once the general elections are over later this year and the new government comes to power.
The sports ministry needs to understand that the iconic F1 event will have a huge influence on the national motorsport scene right from the grass root level. Race car drivers compete for winning a trophy in the end and go through intensive training programs making them athletes. Motorsport in general includes biking, off-roading, rallying as well as F1 which will give a huge exposure to aspirants in the country.
As for now a double edged sword is ready to fall on the fate of the Indian GP, however, Bernie Ecclestone also suggested that if things fall into place, F1 could make a comeback to the country in 2016. Well, not much is lost as of now and there certainly is hope to witness the adrenaline filled action from the Grand Stand. The government also needs to realize that events like F1 provide global exposure and reach which is essential for putting our country on the world map.