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JULY 15, 2003

India moves closer to host F1 venue

As Bernie Ecclestone looks ahead for F1 he sees potential in bringing the F1 Circus to India. Ecclestone recently was quoted in the Indian magazine THE WEEK as saying, "We will be having an F1 race in India for sure." Although he has not forgotten his promises with other countries as he also went on to say, "India is moving forward very fast. After we do something in China, India is next."

For the last few years F1 races have been broadcast live in India and it has sparked quite an interest in the public. Not to mention the rise of talented Indian drivers such as 25 year old Narain Karthikeyan. Karthikeyan is currently placed third in the Nissan world series, a stepping stone to F1, and has tested with such teams as Jaguar and Jordan in the last two years. With a television audience of 400 million, the cricket-crazed country seems to fit the bill quite nicely.

The southern city of Hyderabad is being hyped as the possible location for the race. But the reality is that much work needs to be done before they can accommodate an F1 race. First of all, an international state-of-the-art track needs to be built, as there are none in India, the host city will need around 6,000 luxury hotel rooms, and an airport and expressway large enough to handle F1 cargo. Bernie realizes this as he stressed that no official moves have been made yet. He told the magazine, "We have been speaking to intermediaries. So they know we are interested. I need to go and have a look, which I will do in the near future."

It was best put by Vicky Chandok, who heads India's motor sports federation when quoted as saying, "The first moves have been made, it is not an impossible dream any more."