Formula 1 is ready to return to India, awaits for Govt. to sort itself
It is now confirmed that Formula 1 will not be returning to India in 2014 and the chances of a return in 2015 are not 100%. In a recent interview in Abu Dhabi, Bernie said, “The door is open for them. It’s all there. Just a case of the government sorting itself out.” He even said that the contract extension of FIA with Indian GP organizers Jaypee Group too has been sorted, but all parties are awaiting government sorting itself and changing it’s attitude towards the sport.
Indian government has not recognized Formula 1 as a sport, and because of this, they have taxed all stakeholders, teams, and drivers. This, for Bernie, is bizzare. The other problem, is the licensing fee. Jaypee pays Formula One Management $40 million every year a race is held in India at BIC. And since the Rupee value has slid, Jaypee finds it difficult to cough up that kind of money every year, especially when the stands are empty during Race Day.
FOM will not reduce their license fee, for the same reason they would have not increased fee if Rupee value had appreciated. Apart from this, there are other venues who are coughing up far more than what Jaypee is paying. As a sport, Formula 1 is no short of venues. In 2014, even when India will be sidelined, there are 4 more venues who will be added, taking the total no of races to 22. The new venues are Mexico, Austria, Russia and New Jersey.
Even then, Formula One has stated that they have no problems in extending the contract with Jaypee, which expires in 2015. But, all that depends on how the Indian government sorts itself.