Organisers hope for fewer problems in hosting F1 next season
New Delhi: The "system" posed quite a few hiccups for them, but the organisers of India`s maiden Formula One race are not complaining and are actually optimistic about things improving after the country gets a hang of the sport and its enormity.
Three major hurdles came the way of the organisers, Jaypee Sports International (JPSI), who together with Federation of Motor Sports Club of India helped bring F1 to country.
They were asked to pay custom duty, running in several hundred crores, on the temporary import of equipment to the country and then Enforcement Directorate issued a notice to them for FEMA violation.
Then a litigation was filed in the Supreme Court for the entertainment tax exemption given to organisers.
FMSCI President Vicky Chandhok, also the father of India`s second F1 driver Karun Chandhok, said the problems were bound to surface due to lack of knowledge about F1 in the country.
"India has never hosted such a big event. It`s the largest ever. No IPL, no Commonwealth Games anywhere come close to it. The most expensive equipments in motorsport are being brought to India. There are 570 million viewers in 180 countries worldwide.”
"The problem in the system is that we had never hosted an F1 race. We need to understand the sport the way hockey players know their sticks and cricketers their helmet, bat and ball," Chandhok said.
Chandhok was optimistic that these problems would not surface when India will host the race in the 2012 season.
"People need to be educated about the sport and that will happen over the years. May be in the next year a more practical view will be taken," he said.
With just a week to go for the unfolding of F1 action in India, are the organisers nervous? No, says Chandhok.
"Not at all. But without doubt it`s a big event and we are doing it on such a large scale for the first time, so naturally some anticipation is there," he said.
Narain Karthikeyan is the only Indian driver confirmed for the race and Team Lotus is yet to make up its mind on whether to give a racing seat to Karun.
The senior Chandhok wishes to see his son racing on October 30 but said he can`t do much about it.
"That`s a question which Karun and Team Lotus have to answer but yes, as a father, I would love to see him racing in the inaugural race in India. He has proved himself in Korea. But the question is beyond me," he said.
Asked what would be the best utilisation of the Buddh International circuit, the venue for the race, between the seasons, Chandhok said,"It is important to handle, support and nurture national talent. National championships should be held at BIC."