The future of Indian Grand Prix might be uncertain after this year's race but host Jaypee Sports International Limited's CEO Sameer Gaur says the country will not lose the Formula One event and will surely have two more races.
Speculation is rife that Indian fans will see an F1 race for one last time at home when the caravan will arrive in Greater Noida on October 27.
However, Gaur assured that they will host five races as per their contract.
"I feel that no one should think that Indian GP will not come. Indian GP will return in 2015. There should be no fears at all," Sameer Gaur, who is also JPSI MD, said.
"The general feeling may be there that we will lose the race but this (feeling) is there maybe because the economy is a bit down. But we will surely host two more races and let's see what happens after five years."
The 2014 edition of Indian GP has been scrapped and the World Superbike round has also been postponed twice.
The WSBK was to make India debut at the Buddh International Circuit in March this year but was later rescheduled for November. However, recently it was postponed again indefinitely due to lack of marshals training.
Asked If JPSI is feeling the heat with the cancellation of two big events, Gaur said there was no such worry.
"We are not worried at all. When you say it is tough time, then only tough people last," Gaur said confidently.
F1 czar Bernie Ecclestone had cited political problems for the scrapping of the 2014 round but Gaur said that was not the case.
"If Indian GP will not be there in 2014, it is for logistical reasons. We wanted to do the 2014 race in October but FIA wanted it in March. For us October is the right time and not March, so we decided to not have a GP next year," he claimed.
Gaur, however, did acknowledge the bureaucratic problems in getting the clearances for bringing in the equipment and also long delays in getting refunds from the government.
JPSI pays about Rs 60 crore for the import of goods such as cars, tyres, fuel and get their money back after two per cent deduction when things are sent back. Duties are levied on goods which are consumed, such as fuel and wine, during the hosting of event.
"Custom is not a problem as long as we get the refund back but yes, the time taken in getting the refund, it takes six to eight months, that is a problem," he said.
JPSI contributes Rs 10 crore annually towards National Sports Development Fund but yet they do not share a very good rapport with the authorities. The past Sports Ministers had refused to even recognise F1 as sport.
Gaur said they have made efforts in changing the perception about the sport but national sports federation, FMSCI, has a major role to play in it.
"We have approached the government, it is a different sport and they should recognise it. And it is not for us to convince them but for FMSCI to convince them. The governing body should do it," he said.
Gaur recognised the fact they need to have more events at the BIC to sustain and maintain the massive facility, which got thumbs up from drivers as well as the FIA administration.
"The track cost is Rs 1800 crore and then if you count license fee every year we pay, the investment comes to about 3500 crore or 4000 crore, but JPSI is not only a sports company, it's also a real estate company. But we do need more races and more events. In 2015 we should have more races since the facility (BIC) will be there. There have to be continuous activities at BIC."
Gaur also admitted that JPSI was hoping to touch the break-even point in five to seven years but since there would be a gap of one year in 2014, "break-even will be delayed further".
Image: The Buddh International Circuit
Photograph: Clive Mason/Getty Images