Ecclestone casts doubt on Indian GP

Ecclestone casts doubt on Indian GP
Bernie Eccleston

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has indicated next season’s Indian Grand Prix is under threat.

The race made history when it debuted in 2011 as the first to be staged on the sub-continent, but problems have since arisen.

One of the key issues surrounds India’s tax laws as they believe that by hosting a round of the world championship – which this year includes 19 races - they are entitled to tax one-nineteenth of the revenues of the teams.

It is understood that situation will again be resolved before this season’s race in October, but heading into 2014 there is speculation the promoters have run into financial difficulties.

Just two weeks ago, however, a statement from promoters Jaypee Sports International said reporting of the potential demise of the event was “totally baseless and malicious”.

Ecclestone, though, when asked ahead of yesterday’s Hungarian Grand Prix whether India would be on the 2014 calendar, replied: “Probably not.”

Pushed for a reason why, Ecclestone said: “Very political.”

Force India co-owner Vijay Mallya, however, sees no reason why his home country will not be in a position to stage the race next season and again in 2015, which is the final year of their current deal.

“I’ve no concerns,” Mallya said.

“The promoters are fine with it, the fans, drivers and teams love it, it’s a lovely circuit.

“Yes, there is an issue with the Indian tax authorities.

“They say ’If you make x amount of revenue from 19 races in a Formula One season, with one of those in India, then logically one-nineteenth of the income should be taxed in India’.

“You just have to argue it out, but it’s unnecessary.

“On the one hand the government are saying they want India to be a vibrant, modern, global economy, and they want global investment and global sport, blah blah blah.

“And then the taxman puts a dampener on things and creates uncertainty for the future.

“It has to be battled out across the table. It’s frustrating, but I think there can be a good outcome.”

Asked specifically about the rumours surrounding the promoters’ financial woes, Mallya added: “They’ve already built the track. What are they going to do with it?

“At the end of the day they’ve invested a huge sum of money to build that track, and they’ve built a whole sports city around it, as you know.

“They are committed to it.”

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