Force India team principal Vijay Mallya has no doubts that the long-term future of his home grand prix is safe, despite it being dropped from next year’s calendar.
Mallya is disappointed that Formula 1 commercial manager Bernie Ecclestone has chosen not to hold the event next year. The race is switching to a March date in 2015 and its organizers do not want to hold two races a few months apart. Mallya reckoned that its absence from 2014 was not a sign that India’s F1 future was in jeopardy.
“Obviously we built a fantastic track, fulfilled the aspirations of hundreds of millions of young Indians, and then started moving and getting established in a country with huge long-term potential,” he said. “So to miss a year for whatever reason is obviously disappointing. Racing schedules are obviously important, but whether a country as important as India should miss out on a race in one calendar year is a debatable question.
“I am hoping that we will see the race back in India in 2015 if Bernie has decided that there cannot be a race in 2014, because according to him the calendar cannot accommodate it. But I think Bernie is smart enough to understand the enormous potential that there is in India. I don’t think he will take a short-term view.”
Mallya created his own Indian team in F1 in the hope of capitalizing on the success of the Indian GP but he has dismissed any talk that if the race is dropped he will turn his back on F1.
“It is a disappointment, but please understand that I bought this team, named it Force India, and continued to race in the world championship well before there was any Indian GP,” he said. “I am proud of the race, but I don’t believe it is curtains. I know for a fact that the promoters in India have agreed all the commercial terms with Bernie [for 2015] and therefore I see no reason why it should not happen.”