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India Looks to Host Formula One in 2010

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Businessman Dominic Cabral from the Western Indian state of Goa is an avid motor sports fan, one among a growing legion of fans in India who follow the sport of auto racing with passion.

Once a year, Cabral travels to at least one race at which 28-year-old Narian Karthikeyan — the first Indian Formula One driver — is participating. Last year that took him to the Malaysian circuit. This year he plans to travel to Bahrain in April.

Narian Karthikeyan India Helmet

Cabral was not the only one in Malaysia waving the Indian tri-color flag. Around 500 Indians attended the race. The motor sport craze has come of age in India.

In 2010, Cabral and other Indian motor sports fans may be in for a treat closer to home.

No official declarations have been made yet, but four Indian states are in the running to get the green light from Formula One — Punjab, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Haryana.

Quite a few speculative reports have been appearing in Indian newspapers, but as one report pointed out, a venue close to the Indian capital of Delhi is likely to be chosen. In this scenario, Haryana and Delhi itself are close contenders.

India has a great fan following for this sport. If it does become a reality, it would provide yet another boost to the economy. As an example, the small country of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf region made a small investment $150 million in Formula One racing three years ago. Today, it is reaping huge returns.

The Bahrain International Circuit, a state-of-the-art Formula One race venue, took in $664 million over the last three years. Last year’s turnover alone stood at $394 million.

Many teams would like to compete in India’s booming market and the people at Formula One know it. No wonder Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One supreme, told the Bloomberg News Service: “India is a country that is probably going to grow quicker than China. We had to make sure we found the right place in India and we have.”

Where, exactly, the “right place’ was, Ecclestone did not disclose.

But is India ready to host Formula One racing?

In Delhi, a newly modernized international airport, good roads and a whole host of new hotels will help it score over rival cities.

Vicky Chandhok, chairman of corporation communications for the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India and Ecclestone’s informal adviser on an Indian Grand Prix, has said the selection will depend on the “funding criteria” of each of the interested states.

Formula One supreme Ecclestone has told potential investors that a multi-utility sports complex, which combines sport and fun, with the Formula One race being just an incidental activity, would be needed to make it successful.

Basic investment needs for Indian competitors is $80-100 million for the Formula One infrastructure and 600-650 acres of land to house the circuit, hotels and the multi-utility complex.

Article by Evaristo Johny Coutinho

One Comment

  1. It will great to see a F1 race being hosted out of India. Sometime back when Chandrababu Naidu was teh Chief Minister of AP – he was trying to get the race to be hosted out of Hyderabad. Unfortunately, he lost the elections and Hyderabad the chance to host a F1 race! Tragic!

    I would love to see a F1 race in India.

    3. Hemant Velury on February 19th, 2007 at 8:39 pm

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  2. […] India Looks to Host Formula One in 2010Businessman Dominic Cabral from the Western Indian state of Goa is an avid motor sports fan, one among a growing legion of fans in India who follow the sport of auto racing with passion. Once a year, Cabral travels to at least one race … […]

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