Grand Prix racing in India

There is a lot of talk about an Indian Grand Prix but all of it overlooks one key factor: the Indian government does not recognise the FIA's nominated club, the Motorsport Association of India, and remains in support of the Federation of Motor Sport Clubs of India (FMSCI) which held the FIA's sporting power in India between 1971 and 2000.

It is a long and tortuous tale but relates back to 1999 when the FMSCI decided that it did not want to be represented at the FIA by Nazir Hoosein, its chief representative at the FIA and one of Max Mosley's closest collaborators at the FIA. In response to this Hoosein established a new federation, which he called the Motor Sports Association of India (MAI).

This was followed by an FIA investigation into Indian motorsport, which some argue was biased against the old club, and the FIA decision in April 2000 to withdraw the FMSCI's sporting power. The FMSCI appealed but did not win in the International Court of Appeal. There followed legal action in India before a compromise was hammered out in 2003 which resulted in the FMSCI running events under an MAI permit.

The FMSCI is obviously still not keen on the arrangement and in its most recent annual report once again points out that "as the national sports federation of the government of India" it is proud of its achievements - even if the FIA refuses to recognise the club.

Unfortunately, the Indian government does recognise the FMSCI and has written to the MAI and the FIA pointing out that "the MAI is not authorised by the government of India and no recognition has been granted to MAI" and that "the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India is the only body recognised by the Government of India for promoting motor sports in India".

Bizarrely, while all of this has been going on, Hoosein has been allowed to sit on the FIA World Motor Sport Council for the last four years as the representative of China.

Before any Indian GP can take place this problem needs to be solved and while the Indians might be keen on getting a race, they are also keen not to be seen to be pushed around by a sporting federation. In order for their to be an Indian Grand Prix someone is going to have to give way.

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