Formula One: No race in three years but Buddh Circuit won't be sold, insist debt-ridden Jaypee Group
Getting Formula 1 back to the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) is not on the priority list for the Jaypee Group but it has no plans to sell either.
New Delhi: Getting Formula 1 back to the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) is not on the priority list for the debt-ridden Jaypee Group but at the same time, it has no plans to sell the $400 million facility that put India on the world motorsport map, said track chief Sameer Gaur.
"Yes, we are not thinking of hosting any big race including F1 in the near future because of reasons well known but it doesn't mean we are open to selling the circuit. The thought has not even crossed our mind," Gaur, who is Jaypee Sports International MD and CEO, told PTI.
The BIC has been away from the limelight ever since the race was dropped from the F1 calendar following three editions from 2011 to 2013. The maintenance cost of the circuit remains high and with no major international race being organised, a handful of domestic events besides vehicle testing days contribute to its running cost.
"Maintaining a big facility like BIC is surely tough but we have been able to do that well despite the constraints," he said.
The Jaypee Group overall is undergoing tough times. The total debt of the conglomerate is estimated to be around Rs 75,000 crore as on 31 March 2015, according to foreign brokerage firm Credit Suisse.
It was not a surprise that it chose to sell some of its cement and hydro power plants to reduce the debt burden.
Even in the existing scenario, Gaur remains an optimist and promised that F1 will return to BIC at some point, though not in the near future.
"We built such a huge circuit to host big events like F1. Yes, under the circumstances, it is not at all our focus but when the situation improves, we will surely think about making better use of the track," added Gaur.
In a recent chat with PTI, F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone had expressed a strong desire to have Indiaback on the calendar despite the challenges that come with the hosting of the high-profile race.
It is quite clear that for the race to return, the tax and bureaucratic hurdles that were created during the three active years, will have to be cleared besides significant improvement in the financial health of the Jaypee Group.
Formula 1 2021: Max Verstappen fends off Lewis Hamilton to win Dutch Grand Prix, retake championship lead
A week after the farcical washout in Belgium, pole-sitter Verstappen controlled the race from the start in bright sunshine at the beach resort of Zandvoort.
The London-born Thai will take George Russell's seat following confirmation of the British driver's deal to join Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes in 2022.
The Dutch driver could take the lead before his enthusiastic fans as Formula One returns to Zandvoort, a fast circuit set in coastal sand dunes at the beach resort near Amsterdam where the last winner was Niki Lauda for McLaren in 1985.