Formula 1 may have pulled the plug — at least temporarily — on the Indian Grand Prix, but Formula E might bring a race to these shores in a few years, if Mahindra Racing have their way.
At the press conference to unveil their new M5Electro car for the upcoming season of Formula E, Mahindra Racing’s Chairman, Dr Pawan Goenka, said he had been trying to work with Indian authorities to bring a Formula E race to India.
The Indian Grand Prix was first held at Greater Noida’s Buddh International Circuit in 2011, but after three editions was dropped off the Formula 1 due to tax and bureaucratic hurdles. In 2014, Bernie Ecclestone had even revealed that the race’s promoters had not complied with the five-year contract, raising more doubts over the event's future.
Five years on, the owners of the Indian team in Formula E, Mahindra Racing, have set their sights on bringing the race to India.
“When Chetan Maini first suggested that we enter a team in Formula E, we had a lot of concerns. We had no racing experience. We were wondering if the series will take off. Four editions down, we can say for sure that we have done well,” Goenka told reporters on Monday before adding, “Now we’re trying to get a race to India. I’m in conversation with government officials to make this a possibility.”
The team’s CEO and Team Principal, Dilbagh Gill, added, “Everyone really wants to bring a race to India. Look at all the manufacturers of teams in Formula E, India is an important market. Audi, Mercedes, Jaguar, Mercedes all are trying to grow in this market. At the same time, we are also slightly concerned in terms of regulations. The Formula One problems are not yet over in India, with the taxes and everything,” Gill said.
Another concern for Mahindra Racing — albeit a minor one compared to working out bureaucratic hassles and significant tax concerns — is finding a location for the race. Formula E races have so far been only held been on street circuits around the world.
“We’re trying to also figure out and identify a location. The thing with India is we don’t know where we can race because quite a lot depends on the time of the year the race will be held. If the calendar says we have to do it sometime between November and February, we cannot go to New Delhi. The capital is not conducive to hosting races once the fog sets in.
“So maybe Mumbai or somewhere else. But ideally, New Delhi could be pretty interesting. If you can race in the city centre, the city’s got some really iconic architecture,” Gill told Firstpost.
He revealed that Hyderabad had shown interest in hosting the race when it does happen.
“There was some interest from the city to host the race around Tank Bund. That hasn’t really progressed. So we are talking to various organisations to try.”
On being asked for a timeline, Gill said: “Season 6 might be too early, but Season 7 might be a realistic target. Two years from now, is a good time.”
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Updated Date: Dec 10, 2018 22:24:34 IST