Indian GP back on track, organisers dispel fear of delay

Last Updated: Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 18:45

New Delhi: The 2011 Indian Grand Prix, which
seemed to have hit a road block, is back on track with the
organisers dispelling fears of a delay in the country`s tryst
with its first Formula One race.

Sameer Gaur, Managing Director of JPSK
Sports, promoters of the event, did not disclose how the
organisers managed to overcome the hurdle after the Sports
Ministry had denied them the approval to remit USD 36.6
million to the Formula One Administration.

All Gaur was willing to share was that the obstacles have
been cleared.

"There will be no problem whatsoever. It`s premature to
disclose the details and when time comes, we`ll share
everything. But we can tell you that god has been kind enough.
The construction work for the race track is in full swing and
it will definitely be ready before 2011," Gaur said.

The organisers earlier seemed to have reached a dead end
when the Reserve Bank of India asked them to get the approval
of the Sports Ministry for the remittance of the foreign
exchange.

The Sports Ministry refused to oblige, bluntly telling
that neither it considers Formula One a sport nor did it
believe the race would do any good to Indian sports as such.

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, however, assured
that the Indian Grand Prix would go ahead as scheduled. In
fact, Ecclestone was to arrive in the capital last month to
lay the foundation stone but there seems a change in his
schedule.

"Mr Ecclestone was to come here in October, that is what
we also heard. But then he is an extremely busy person," Gaur
said.

The organisers now plan to invite some F1 dignitaries
early next year.

"We have set certain targets as we make progress and by
February-March, we would definitely like to have the presence
of some of them," he said.

Gaur conceded the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi has
raised the bar for all other new tracks but promised to come
up with a world class layout.

"All I can say is that it would be `Sare Jahan Se
Achchha`. Modesty aside, we would have a great track which
would be technically good, effective and at the same time
cost-conscious," said Gaur.

"If you see the projects Jaypee group has undertaken, the
race track is not a big deal as such. But we are not
underestimating it either and taking it as a challenge," Gaur
said.

Asked how the organisers plan to utilise the Hermann
Tilke-designed track rest of the year, Gaur said, "Well, that
is something still in the drawing board stage. What we are now
fully concentrating on is to put up a world class track for
India`s first F1 race."

Gaur also hinted that the Indian Grand Prix would take
place in the winter and night race was not a possibility since
they have not been asked to make the necessary light
arrangements.

"The race would be scheduled sometimes in October 2011
when the weather would be good and we have not been asked to
arrange lights," Gaur added.

Bureau Report



First Published: Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 18:45
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