New Delhi: Bernie Ecclestone's 'hinting' that Indian Grand Prix may not be held next year is not the end of the road for the sport's marquee event in the country, says F1 driver Karun Chandhok.
One of the two Indian drivers ever to race in F1, Chandhok was bombarded with phone calls on Monday, after news reports saying - the 2014 Indian Grand Prix may not take place - emerged. Speaking exclusively to NDTV, Chandhok said that the sport in general has nothing against an Indian Grand Prix.
"We are trying to work out a way for the Indian GP to co-exist in a now packed calendar, for both sides - Jaypee Group (owners of Indian GP's venue Buddh International Circuit) and the Formula One Group. I was on call with Bernie earlier today and what we've come to know that everyone must understand that both sides want an Indian Grand Prix. It's just the finding of the right solution for everybody," Chandhok told NDTV.
The 29-year-old former Hispania Racing Team driver says the F1 calendar is packed with 20 full races and new venues and circuits have bid to be included in the forthcoming seasons. "F1 has got a full calendar now with 20 races. We've got Austria and Russia bidding to join the calendar from 2014 onwards. It is a bit tricky, there are various hurdles that need to be crossed and things have to be sorted out," he added.
Citing the possibilities of more countries hosting an F1 race, Chandhok says rotation of races is a possible move that FIA may take in order to fit in all the racing venues. "A rotation policy is possible and is something that will be discussed. However, then you have to figure out whether hosting a race every alternate year will be a viable option for all host countries or not. Let's not forget that a lot of investment is done for hosting a race, for keeping the safety norms in place. Does it then makes sense to invest so much on the circuits just for one year? So there will be much deliberation on such matters," he said.
A regular racer in the GP 2 and FIA GT series, Chandhok gives the example of the German Grand Prix, which alternates venues every year. "One solution which we've seen happen in Germany is to alternate venues every year. They've alternated Hockenheim and Nurburgring as venues. So possibly we can see the Indian Grand Prix getting alternated with a Malaysian Grand Prix is such a scenario. But much of it is just speculation. We just need to see how the cards unfold.
Reportedly, tax issues and red-tapism is one of the major reasons why the Indian GP has gone out of favour with the sport's bosses. "Such things haven't helped our cause. Many of the teams say that this is one of the potential hurdles for them, and something that they don't have to face in other countries. Don't forget India is one of only 3 races besides the British GP and the Japanese GP, that are privately run races, the rest of the races are run by the government-associated organisations," he concluded.