London: India’s return to F1 will have to wait until at least 2016, by which time a new race in Azerbaijan could also be on the calendar, commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone said on Wednesday.
The 83-year-old Briton dampened Indian hopes of the Buddh International Circuit near New Delhi hosting a race again next year, after being dropped from the 2014 championship. “At the moment, India won’t be on for next year for sure,” said Ecclestone. “Probably 2016... they’re gradually getting over all the bureaucracy with the tax position inside the country and the general finance,” he added.
Ecclestone said in November that a deal had been done for the Indian Grand Prix to return in 2015 and for six years beyond that if tax problems with the country’s authorities could be overcome.
Problems over taxation, with F1 classified as entertainment rather than a sport in India, as well as the considerable bureaucracy to be overcome in bringing equipment into the country have been seen as obstacles to the race returning. South Korea was also dropped from this year’s calendar and Ecclestone said they too would have to wait for a comeback: “It’s never been for next year. We’ve been thinking about 2016 again for them.”
The 2014 calendar lists 19 races after plans to include Mexico and New Jersey were put on hold.
Russia, with a circuit threading through the Olympic Park in Sochi, is this year’s new addition and Ecclestone saw no reason why that race should not happen despite international tension over the situation between that country and Ukraine.
“Don’t cancel,” he said when asked his advice for anyone with flights already booked for the race in the Black Sea resort in October.