New Delhi: A day after F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said that the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) at Greater Noida would have to wait at least till 2016 to get another chance to host the Indian Grand Prix, sources in the sports ministry indicated that the government was in no mood to change its policy and offer tax concession to the event.
The FI supremo, on Wednesday, indicated the refusal of the Indian government to give the sport the needed tax concession could be one of the reasons why the Indian GP would not happen in 2015.
“At the moment, India won’t be on for next year for sure,” Ecclestone had said.
“Probably, 2016… they are gradually getting over all the bureaucracy with the tax position inside the country and the general finance,” the 83-year-old F1 boss has been quoted as saying.
In India, the F1 is regarded as entertainment rather than a sport and is taxed accordingly.
“There is no room for any change of policy at the moment,” said a source in the sports ministry.
“There is a laid down policy of the government that clearly says this kind of meet should not be considered as sport and it has to pay the taxes as per the rules,” he added.
The promoters of the Indian Grand Prix, Jaypee Group, on the other hand, are hoping to get the policy changed in their favour.
“There could be a change of policy once the elections are over.
“The new government might feel that F1 is one of the biggest sporting events in the world.
“Ecclestone could have waited till May before taking the event in 2015 away from India.”
Equally hopeful is the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) of a government turnaround and getting recognition as a National Sports Federation (NSF), which will pave the way for the race’s return.
“The development is unfortunate, but once the government gives the recognition we are confident that Ecclestone’s concern will be satisfied,” said Akbar Ebrahim, the chairman of racing at FMSCI.
The Indian GP officials, however, remained tightlipped and said they were yet to receive any official communication from the F1 bosses.
“We cannot comment based on media reports,” an official said.
Sameer Gaur, the chief executive of Jaypee Sports International said he would have a meeting with Ecclestone.
“I will soon set up a meeting with Ecclestone and talk to him directly. We want the race in 2015.”
Last year, Ecclestone cancelled the 2014 race in India but said the race, which was organised successfully at BIC for three years from 2011, would return in 2015 as a part of the Asian Leg.