Government should treat the Indian Grand Prix as their own: Jaypee's Sameer Gaur
The Indian GP has been taken off the F1 2014 calendar but the promoters are confident of its return. Long-term future however can only be secured if the government helps in popularizing the sport, says Gaur.
The Indian Grand Prix may have been axed from the 2014 F1 calendar but the promoters of the race - Jaypee Group - are confident that the pinnacle of motorsports will return to the Indian shores the following year.
Speaking exclusively to NDTV, the CEO and MD of Jaypee Sports International, Sameer Gaur, said that he was hopeful of the race making a comeback in 2015. " We have a very sound contract with the F1 management. Bernie Ecclestone is a wise man and he believes in India as a destination. 2014 Indian Grand Prix is not happening because of logistical problems but those problems will be sorted out and in 2015, bang on, we will be on target."
Gaur said that the five -year contract means that F1 will continue to find a home in India but cautioned that a roadmap will be needed thereafter. "We will continue to have the Grand Prix till our 5-year contract runs. But after 5 years, let us see how the situation is. We don't want to disappoint the F1 enthusiasts in India, the ones who have gotten used to watching the Grand Prix here. We have that in mind and god willing we will find a way out"
Bernie Eccleston, the F1 boss, had earlier said that oraginsing the Grand Prix in India was tough because of political reason, hinting at the various levels of red-tapism faced by F1 teams coming to India.
Though Gaur wasn't ready to put all the blame on the Indian government, he does feel a little bit of help can go a long way in securing the long-term future of the Indian Grand Prix. "If F1 has to be in India on a long-term basis, the Government of India should own the event like it is their own event, not only look at it as a Jaypee event. Yes, Jaypee has made the circuit. Yes Jaypee has paid the license fee but the government can share the licence fee. There are many governments around the world that share the F1 license fee".
"We should see the model of Singapore and Abu Dhabi. When you go to these countries, it looks like a festival in those time. Their government popularises F1 in every step. Whether it is their buses, their metros, their restaurants. Jaypee as a private entity can only do that much to create the buzz, we have our limits. But large levels of interests can only be created by the government"
Interestingly, 16 out of the 19 races on the F1 calendar are government sponsored events. British, Japanese and Indian Grand Prix are the only exception.