Thursday, August 27, 2009

Setback for India's F1 plans

INDIA'S hopes of hosting a Formula One race have suffered a setback following differences between the government and race promoters, local media reported on Thursday.
India is scheduled to host its first ever F1 Grand Prix in 2011, but the sports ministry has turned down race promoters JPSK Sports' request to be allowed to pay Formula One US$36.5 million (S$52.7 million) for the rights.

The ministry has recently described the event as 'entertainment', saying it would have 'no impact on the development of sports in the country'.
'F1 is not purely sports. It is entertainment and this venture by JPSK is a commercial initiative,' the Times of India quoted a ministry source as saying.
'The proposed F1 race does not satisfy conditions which focus on human endeavour for excelling in competition with others.'

Millions of Indians watch F1 on television, often with the same passion they reserve for the cricket, but news reports said the ministry did not believe the remittance was 'desirable'.
'They sought our recommendation for an outflow of nearly 200 crore rupees (S$57.7 million) which the ministry felt was not justified for a motor race,' an official was quoted as saying.
The race promoters, however, said they would approach the ministry again.
'Yes, we went to the ministry seeking government concessions. If need be, we will go again,' JPSK Sports managing director Samir Gaur told the Times earlier this week.
'We are 200 per cent committed to the F1 race in India. We are building a motor car racing track capable of holding an F1 race.' Work on the track is in progress in Greater Noida on the outskirts of the capital.

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