The 2011 Indian Grand Prix, which seemed to have hit a road block, is back on track with the organisers dispelling fears of a delay in the country’s tryst with its first Formula One race.
Sameer Gaur, Managing Director of JPSK Sports, promoters of the event, did not disclose how the organisers managed to overcome the hurdle after the Sports Ministry had denied them the approval to remit USD 36.6 million to the Formula One Administration.
All Gaur was willing to share was that the obstacles have been cleared.
“There will be no problem whatsoever. It’s premature to disclose the details and when time comes, we’ll share everything. But we can tell you that god has been kind enough.
The construction work for the race track is in full swing and it will definitely be ready before 2011,” Gaur said.
The organisers earlier seemed to have reached a dead end when the Reserve Bank of India asked them to get the approval of the Sports Ministry for the remittance of the foreign exchange.
The Sports Ministry refused to oblige, bluntly telling that neither it considers Formula One a sport nor did it believe the race would do any good to Indian sports as such.
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, however, assured that the Indian Grand Prix would go ahead as scheduled. In fact, Ecclestone was to arrive in the capital last month to lay the foundation stone but there seems a change in his schedule.
“Mr Ecclestone was to come here in October, that is what we also heard. But then he is an extremely busy person,” Gaur said.
The organisers now plan to invite some F1 dignitaries early next year.
“We have set certain targets as we make progress and by February-March, we would definitely like to have the presence of some of them,” he said.
Gaur conceded the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi has raised the bar for all other new tracks but promised to come up with a world class layout.
“All I can say is that it would be ‘Sare Jahan Se Achchha’ Modesty aside, we would have a great track which would be technically good, effective and at the same time cost-conscious,” said Gaur.
“If you see the projects Jaypee group has undertaken, the race track is not a big deal as such. But we are not underestimating it either and taking it as a challenge,” Gaur said.
Asked how the organisers plan to utilise the Hermann Tilke-designed track rest of the year, Gaur said, “Well, that is something still in the drawing board stage. What we are now fully concentrating on is to put up a world class track for India’s first F1 race.”
Gaur also hinted that the Indian Grand Prix would take place in the winter and night race was not a possibility since they have not been asked to make the necessary light arrangements.
“The race would be scheduled sometimes in October 2011 when the weather would be good and we have not been asked to arrange lights,” Gaur added.