Special Correspondent

Race could be first of 2010 season

Infrastructure has to be developed

NEW DELHI: The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has received a draft contract from the Chairman of Formula-1 management, Bernie Ecclestone, to hold the race at Sohna or Greater Noida in 2010.

The president of the IOA, Suresh Kalmadi, addressed a press conference here on Monday, to disclose most of the details of his meeting with Ecclestone at London last week.

“It was a good meeting with Ecclestone in his office and the choice of one of the two tracks has been left to us”, said Kalmadi.

The chief architect of Formula-1, Herman Tilke, had given a report to Ecclestone after inspecting, both on ground and aerially, a few sites in the National Capital Region recently.

Sohna has 1200 acres and could stretch up to 1500 acres, while Greater Noida has 1600 acres. The IOA will discuss with the Haryana and Uttar Pradesh governments and make a choice.

Deadline extended

“I have been given two draft contracts. One is the race promotion contract for the Indian Grand Prix being part of the F-1 World Championship and the second is the circuit right agreement. The September 30 deadline has been extended. Things are on track. A master plan for the circuit will be made soon”, said Mr. Kalmadi.

Refusing to divulge the race sanction fee, the IOA president stated that the contract could be for 10 years, though such ventures are generally signed for seven years or so. The original attempt was to have the race as early as in 2009.

“It is not an easy task, but we are trying our best. It could be the first race of the 2010 season or the one after Bahrain Grand Prix. The stress will be on how to use the track for 365 days”, he said.

Massive task

Though it would be a gigantic task to prepare for the first F-1 race in the country, as hotels have to be built at the site to cater to 5000 F-1 personnel alone, apart from a hospital etc., the IOA president emphasised that the focus would be on the Commonwealth Games to be staged in 2010.

He said that things would be smooth on that front once the stadiums get ready for competition by November 2009.

“We have many global level competitions lined up in every discipline, like the World Cup badminton, World Cup hockey etc.,” said Kalmadi, hinting that the readiness for hosting the Commonwealth Games would be thoroughly checked in the process.

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