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India could host F1 race in 2009: Vijay Mallya

January 13, 2007 11:15 IST
India could host a grand prix in Delhi as early as 2009, a close Indian associate of Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone said on Friday.

Leading businessman Vijay Mallya said after signing a sponsorship agreement between his Kingfisher Airlines and the Toyota team that he was confident the sport would come to the sub-continent.

"It has always been my dream to bring Formula One to India," he told a news conference on the sidelines of the launch of Toyota's new TF107 car.

"The government of Delhi I think really wants Formula One in India and I am optimistic that maybe we will be able to host our first race in 2009."

Ecclestone said last year that he was in negotiations with a regional government in India to build a race track, without identifying which one.

The Briton is keen to expand the sport's reach further in Asia, with South Korea already promised a grand prix for 2010 and Singapore hoping for a street race as well.

India, with a booming economy and more than 500 million people under the age of 20, is a strong candidate. The country had a first Formula One driver in Narain Karthikeyan, now a Williams tester, in 2005.

Alan Baldwin
Source:
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