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India offered Formula One race for 2009
June 14, 2007 15:03 IST
Last Updated: June 14, 2007 20:37 IST
India has been made a conditional offer to stage a Formula One Grand Pix in 2009, Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi said on Thursday.
"We have received a letter in this regard from Bernie Ecclestone, CEO of Formula One. The IOA will be the promoter and the first event will be held in 2009," he told a news conference.
"Once we move ahead [put all aspects in place], a regular contract would be signed," Kalmadi said, adding the IOA would raise necessary financing through government or private funds.
"We are planning to hold the race around New Delhi and we are looking to identify suitable land for a track."
However, a letter from Ecclestone to Kalmadi, dated June 1, 2007, a copy of which was given to the media later, listed tough conditions, including various commercial agreements that needed to be signed before the race becomes a reality.
"The formalities for proceeding with this project, including the entering into the contracts referred to in above and the delivery to FOA (Formula One Administration) of a suitable standby letter of credit are to be concluded no later than September 20, 2007," it said.
Kalmadi was confident the IOA would meet all requirements although it is already running behind schedule with work related to staging the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
"This letter is like an MOU," he said. "I can't say it is fully really going to happen before we sign the contract. [But] we're going to try.
"Basically we are going ahead with this to earn revenue for Olympic sports," he said. "We are a large team and we will have a lot of professionals as well."
India has been in the frame for a race as Formula One bosses look to tap into its booming economy with Delhi and the southern Hyderabad city mentioned as possible venues in the past.
Plans to hold a race in Hyderabad fizzled out after the local government that backed the move was voted out of power.
Narain Karthikeyan [Images] became India's first Formula One driver when he was signed up for the former Jordan team in 2005. He is currently a tester with Williams.
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