As time marches forward into the weekend, we are supposed to witness the Indian Grand Prix from the Buddh International Circuit near New Dehli—that is if the Supreme Court doesn’t cancel the race.
As much as Sauber’s Monisha Kaltenborn feels Formula 1 has failed the Indian Grand Prix through a lack of self-promotion, the Indian government, race promoters and sycophants have also failed the event. The country quibbled over the taxation of the sport and parsed words such as “sport” and “entertainment”. The definition is important for taxation purposes.
This prompted the disappearance of the race from the 2014 calendar and many believe it may never return. Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India’s boss, Vicky Chandhok said:
“With venues in other countries also fighting for slots, we can’t afford to miss out in 2015,” Vicky Chandhok said.
“But I am optimistic that the promoters will work out an agreement with Formula One to have two more races. We have a great facility here,”
That’s the optimistic view but Indian driver, Karun Chandhok, offers a little different perspective on the politics of the situation:
“I think brand India is getting affected. People should not underestimate the power of F1 and power of sport,” Chandhok said.
“For the teams and drivers it is a big headache to reach here… you need to have an extra lawyer for the Indian GP,” he added. “The bureaucratic process is so big and it should not be.”
The issue is the classification of the event as a sport or as entertainment and Public Interest Litigation campaigner, Amit Kumar, is seeking the cancellation of the race over unpaid taxes from a previous event…presumably the 2012 race.
The tickets for this year’s grand prix include taxes, for the first time, and attendance is expected to suffer with fewer than last year’s total of 65,000. Ultimately the race will go on regardless of the Court’s decision…at least that’s the sentiment from Vicky Chandhok:
“The race will go on. There’s absolutely no doubt about that,” Vicky Chandhok told Reuters.
“This has happened many times before. You’ve had people trying to stop cricket matches…our justice system is pretty strong that no sporting event should be stopped.
“It’s a civil matter, let it be heard in court as long as it takes and that’s it. No worries,”
The circuit’s owner, Jaypee Sports International Limited, says that they are ready to follow whatever the court says. Sadly the race may not be part of F1’s future but even more tragic, it may not even be able to have one last hurrah if the Supreme Court decides to stop the race on Sunday.