India, set to lose its place on the 2014 calendar, could return the year after. That is the claim of Vicky Chandhok, the president of the Indian motor sport federation, who works closely with F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.
Ecclestone admitted on Monday that the sport will "probably not" travel to India next year, amid reports he needs to trim the schedule to a maximum of 20 grands prix. According to reports, the main issue with the privately-organised Indian grand prix is the government insists on taxing the teams and drivers at a full rate.
But Chandhok insisted the problem is merely organisational, not "political" as claimed by Ecclestone. "Bernie told me he was alluding to the pressures arising out of expanding the calendar. He was not talking about politics in India," he said.
"In 2015," Chandhok explained to the Hindustan Times newspaper, "F1 is looking to start earlier than the usual March. This means that the 2014 calendar will have to be wrapped up earlier than November. As such, some races like India may be dropped."
Race organiser Jaypee has a contract to host two more races on top of this year's event in October. "If the 2014 race is dropped," said Chandhok, "the Indian GP will be held in 2015 and 2016." He added that India's 2015 race would be early in the season.
A spokesperson for Jaypee told the Press Trust of India an official statement will be issued "soon". Jaypee vice president Askari Zaidi admitted there is a problem with the tax arrangements. "The FOM is extremely unhappy with the way they are being taxed by the government," he told India's Telegraph newspaper. "They (F1) get tax benefits at all other venues across the world." (GMM)