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'December is ideal to hold F1 in India'

June 02, 2011 18:58 IST

President of Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) Vicky Chandhok feels it would be ideal if India hosts its inaugural F1 Grand Prix in the month of December instead of scheduled October 30.

"Personally I feel and I am being a bit selfish, December would be an ideal date considering it to be the concluding event," said Chandhok, who was here as a part of a seminar panel that discussed Formula One's debut in India.

"We could have a long weekend of awards ceremonies and all that comes with it. The weather would be great as well. Although October 30 is also a nice day as the championship fight could still be on," he added.

The World Motor Sport Council is scheduled to meet in Barcelona on Friday to take a final decision on the inclusion of Bahrain GP in this year's calendar. If Bahrain gets the October event then New Delhi F1 could be pushed to December.

President of Formula One Management Ltd, Bernie Ecclestone and Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali have spoken publicly of the possibility of moving the Indian race to December and giving Bahrain the October slot.

The move may prove to be crucial as it would allow India some more time to complete the construction work at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida.

"I don't think the date can change but it may if Bahrain get a slot," said Chandhok.

Speaking about the challenges of holding a Grand Prix in India, Chandhok said handling the logistics will be a big challenge.

"We have to make the logistics work in India and it is a big challenge. India is projecting itself as a technology-driven country and F1 is a technology-driven sport. We are projecting India to the world and if something went wrong it wouldn't be nice. It's up to us to get it right," he said.

Chandhok ducked the question when asked if it would be a great challenge to get the seven jumbo jets loaded with the F1 cars and all other equipment and then getting all the cargo cleared quickly by the government offices and those connected with it including the Customs.

On how the F1 track is going to sustain itself after the high-profile event is over, Jaypee Sports International Ltd spokesperson Sameer Kumar said, "We are in talks with various organisations and plan to get more international races," he said.

Srikkant Karani, Founder of Sportscraft, said any track cannot survive stand alone and there has to have other infrastructure with it in and around that area.

"F1 promotes local economy and hence everything in and around that area can see a boost as well," said Karani.

Karani also stressed on the need to develop a culture of motorsport in the country by promoting the sport at the grassroot level.

F2 race driver Armaan Ebrahim, who worked his way up from the grassroots and is currently knocking on the doors of F1, said, "To be in the top most Formula car was my dream and whenever I get into the single-seater, I have a big smile," said the 22-year-old from Chennai.

"It is not just about enthusiasm and the desire but also how you can push yourself and the car to the extreme that can make you succeed. You need to be physically fit and mentally strong to succeed in motorsport."

Chandhok said teams need sponsorship to survive and move ahead from the back of the grid.

"We need to move ahead. The top-notch teams have all the big sponsorships. New teams need money to survive. The drivers bring in all the money to the teams. Even when Karun made it to Team Hispania, the team needed money. Back of the grid teams will need to grow, we cannot permanently hog the last rows in the grid," he said.

Sameer said the work on the track was keeping pace as expected and would in all probability finish a month before the October 30 scheduled date.

He also said that a large part of the stands will have reasonably priced tickets so that people from a large section of the population can come and witness the event.

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