Start, Buddh International Circuit, 2012

2014 Indian Grand Prix under threat

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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Start, Buddh International Circuit, 2012In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone admits the Indian Grand Prix could be left off the calendar next year.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Indian Grand Prix faces axe in 2014 (Reuters)

“Is India going to happen next year? Probably not,” he said at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Bernie Ecclestone says Indian GP will ‘probably not’ happen in 2014 (BBC)

“[Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India president Vicky] Chandhok would be not drawn on a potential solution but sources say the answer could be to extend the contract into 2016 so that instead of races in 2014 and 2015, India is skipped next year but then returns in an early-season date in 2015 and ’16.”

India and F1: time?s up? (FT, registration required)

“India was part of the Ecclestone masterplan to portray F1 as a truly global sport. Formula One Management likes the demographic profile of the Indian market ?ǣ under 35, AB social class ?ǣ though there is precious little detail from FOM on the penetration. ‘…over 400 hours of coverage served the Indian market, and, unsurprisingly, the most watched two hours was the Indian grand prix…’ said FOM in its global broadcast support for 2012.”

2014 season set for March 16 start in Australia (Adam Cooper’s F1 Blog)

“While Bernie Ecclestone continues to struggle fine tune the details of next year?s F1 calendar the one bit of information the teams have been given is that the season will start on March 16 in Australia.”

Fernando Alonso is reprimanded by Ferrari for making negative comments (The Guardian)

“Asked afterwards what kind of car he wanted for his birthday, the double world champion said: ‘The one the others have’. Asked also what he planned to do over the August break, with the season now at its midpoint, he retorted: ‘I will pray’.”

Hamilton: I can win last nine races with car (The Telegraph)

“Last year I didn?t feel like I had the car to win ten races. This year I feel I have a car that can win ten races. The tyres are going to play a massive part but I truly believe in this car. It feels awesome.”

Title talk too early – Hamilton (BBC)

“When you have a win like this, you get excited and think anything is possible and this shows it is. But it is still too early to say whether or not we can challenge.”

Tony Gaze dies aged 93 (Autosport)

“Tony Gaze, the first Australian to start a world championship grand prix, has died at the age of 93.”

Hungarian Grand Prix: Epilogue (MotorSport)

Ayrton Senna moved heaven and earth to place himself in the best car on the grid throughout the 1980s and early ?90s. Alonso is cut from the same cloth. It?s not that much of a stretch to think he might have some big career thoughts to chew over during this forthcoming summer break.”


Kimi Raikkonen, Budapest, 2013

Kimi Raikkonen received a skateboard from top skateboarder Rune Glifberg in a promotional event at the world’s largest skate park in Budapest on Saturday.


Comment of the day

Does Luca di Montezemolo’s public scolding of Alonso suggest the Ferrari’s driver is heading elsewhere? @Girts doubts it:

I think that these news more than anything else means that Alonso isn?t going to go to Red Bull. If Montezemolo truly believed that his biggest asset considered leaving the team, he wouldn?t be making such comments, at least not on Ferrari?s website.

As crazy as it might sound, Alonso probably has nowhere to go. Red Bull most likely don?t need a second, more political Vettel. Mercedes already have two top drivers. McLaren’s door might be closed to Alonso forever, given what happened in 2007.

Lotus might be the most realistic option, although the chances that the Enstone team is going to have a championship-winning car in the upcoming years seem to be even smaller than Ferrari’s hopes to build one. Moreover, they still might keep Raikkonen and also decide that one world champion (and one high salary) is enough for a team of their size.

And where else could Alonso go? Ferrari needs him but he probably needs the team even more.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Cyanide and George Tunnicliffe!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Mario Andretti won the German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring for Lotus 35 years ago today, taking the lead from team mate Ronnie Peterson early on.

Peterson’s retirement left Jody Scheckter to claim second ahead of Jacques Laffite. The race also saw the F1 debut of future three-times champion Nelson Piquet.

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty

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  • 59 comments on “2014 Indian Grand Prix under threat”

    1. I’m extremely skeptical Mercedes could win all 9 races as Red Bull are just too strong in India, Korea and Japan but I’m fairly confident he could add to his tally. That said, I also don’t think he’ll be able to overhaul the current points deficit to Sebastian but we shall see how circumstances play out.

      1. Ya and in fairness LH is just saying he has a car that FEELS like he can win with, not that he is predicting he will do as the headlines suggest. I’m also sure LH will add more points, likely many, but I also think he will yet suffer a few races not unlike how NR’s went. These are no longer the tires that really caught them out earlier in the season at many of the tracks, yet it just feels to me like Red Bull are going to dominate at least 4 of the remaining races with Ferrari seeming to be lagging, their new parts not working as they hoped. It won’t surprise me at all though to see the tires bite Merc in the butt for at least 2 or 3 races, even if it is less dramtically so than before. KR, NR, and FA are going to have some strong showings yet, so I think as long as SV doesn’t start running away with it, it could be a very close run to the end. But of course SV can run away with it even with solid 2nds and 3rds if the other points are being spread amongst LH, NR, KR, and FA, with MW robbing some in there too.

        1. @vettel1

          I’m extremely skeptical Mercedes could win all 9 races as Red Bull are just too strong in India, Korea and Japan.

          I’m not sure at all about that. Red Bull won those 3 races in 2012 because they had the best car during this period of time, but there’s no reason to believe that they’ll out develop Mercedes easily.

          Merc have just as much, if not more downforce than Red Bull on their car, and they have more top speed. They’ve taken every dry pole position thus far, and only the tyres have held them back from winning a lot more this year.

          If these Hungary tyres allow Mercedes to do qualifying laps throughout the whole race, then you better watch out. ;-)

      2. You mean the Korea that Hamilton broke Red Bull’s pole position streak in 2011? Who resisted Webber for pretty much the whole race? He might not be as strong in Suzuka or India, but given a car under him he has shown that he is capable of very solid drives. Plus he is strong at literally every other track.

        This is shaping up to be a wonderful conclusion to this season. Vettel has the lead for now, but that can change in an instant. Everything is to play for and with an on song Kimi and a resurgent Ferrari fighting Vettel on multiple fronts. Sure Lewis, Kimi and Fernando will take points off each other in their hunt, but thats what will make these last races so interesting. Who will come out on top? Who will out develop each other? Who will crack under the pressure? I for one can’t wait to find out.

        1. @rybo …and then proceeded to get overtaken at the start and fall back almost immediately?

          Who will crack under the pressure?

          My bets are on Vettel not cracking: his resilience in 2010 was outstanding and the way he held his mettle in the Brazilian GP was equally impressive considering all the adversities he faced (broken radio causing him to have to pit twice in quick succession with an unprepared pit crew, of course the racing incident at the start and the pressure he came under by none other than his own teammate). We’ll see how the races play out but at this moment I don’t see anybody other than Vettel winning in Suzuka and India also.

      3. It does seem to be capable to win all 9 remaining events and Red Bull can win it all too…

        But those tyres hold up, I think Lewis will win at least 4 more races, but again he will have to keep an eye on Seb.

        But I’m rooting for him, I would love to see his deficit to Seb not bigger than 7 points when we arrive in São Paulo. :)

      4. If Mercedes actually wins every race from now on there will be an out-roar of protests from everywhere. I wouldn’t be surprised the top teams would get together and agree to form a new series.

        1. @vettel1

          We’ll see how the races play out but at this moment I don’t see anybody other than Vettel winning in Suzuka and India also.

          If qualifying stays dry, and the race is cold; you think that Vettel would beat


          Mercedes in those two races? The MGP-001 has at least equal downforce to the RB9, and better top speed.

          To me, that statement seems more like wishful thinking rather than rational. ;-)

          1. @kingshark based on past form, the RB5 lineage’s strengths and driver preference, in normal climactic conditions yes I think if they keep te development up as they always have done in the past Red Bull should be very strong there, particularly Suzuka.

    2. Cool, Rune Glifberg is still on the go as a pro-skater. I remember him from the Tony Hawk’s Playstation games maybe 10-15 years ago!

    3. Gotta love those headlines:

      Hamilton: I can win last nine races with car


      Title talk too early – Hamilton

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        30th July 2013, 2:58

        My thought’s exactly. ahah

      2. If you read Telegraphs’ report you will learn that he didn’t say “I can win last nine races”…

        That’s headline is a translation of:

        Last year I didn’t feel like I had the car to win ten races. This year I feel I have a car that can win ten races. The tyres are going to play a massive part but I truly believe in this car. It feels awesome.

        1. @jcost u read between the lines….:)

        2. “It feels awesome”

          he really said that??
          Yet he said on Friday:

          “The car doesn’t feel bad but the pace doesn’t look great. The lap times are shocking”

          Well I will not trust his feeling about his car!
          Also he may not feels like he had the car to win ten races last year, but the fact is that the car last year has won 7 races, not that far off, is it?

        3. jimscreechy (@)
          30th July 2013, 11:53

          Judging from the original quote, it sounds to me like he’s saying the car is good enough, i.e. can win 10 races, but the tyres play too significant a role for anything to be clear.

        4. @jcost – I read it, I was just making fun of the contradictory headlines ;)

      3. Not really. He feels he CAN win all nine races with this car, but is not counting on anything quite yet, because it depends on the tyres working for them, not having glitches and getting strategy right, all things he cannot be sure they will have working for them @david-a

        1. @bascb and so the headline reflects that: I can win the last 9 races

          1. I think BasCB meant to put the emphasis on FEEL.

            Nevertheless, i think these articles show that people around F1 have a one-race long memory. After Barcelona Mercedes were practically being written off, despite showing strong pace in the previous races. And now that they have a good race all of a sudden they can win all the races (according to the headlines). Its all about the latest race looks like. But the picture is much more complicated than that.

          2. Yes he can, but he does now say he counts on doing so, for the reasons mentioned. So while he thinks he has the car and skills to make it possible, it really is far to early to think he would be able to mount a real championship challenge @vettel1.
            I have no trouble with the headline (not with either one), but fail to see a contradiction between those 2 headlines

      4. Let’s just say this newpapers are full of those brown things we exert from our bodies.

    4. India is my least favourite Grand Prix, so I won’t be sad to see it go at all. And that’s coming from someone who likes both Valencia and Yeongam.

      1. So…someone with terrible taste?

        Just kidding :)

      2. BJ (@beejis60)
        30th July 2013, 1:17

        Bernie says it’s “very political” for the reasons India won’t happen next year.

        Yet Bahrain is staying on the calender…

        Give me a break.

        1. What he meant by political is that there have been taxation issues for the local promoters. The Times if India had an article on that.

          As an Indian, it’s disappointing to see the GP leave the calender. The track is clearly popular with drivers, despite fan opinion being negative. But I can’t say that I’m surprised. It’s impossible for F1 to compete with cricket in India. There are no Indians driving and FI is basically British. Also, given the ticket prices the promoters can never hope for maxed out stands.

        2. @beejis60 – When Bernie says it’s political, he’s probably referring to the internal politics between the race promoter and the national motorsport body, who – as I understand it – rarely see eye-to-eye, rather than anything to do with the Indian political scene.

        3. jimscreechy (@)
          30th July 2013, 12:00

          yes I remember last year when some of the teams cargo was being held in customs unless some ‘Tax’ was paid. It was a messy dispute that cast a shadow over a lot of hard work and serious investment. I don’t know exactly what were the facts, but it left me with a raised eyebrow about the likelihood of the race’s viability… that in addition to the fact that know one in India outside the elite even seemed to know what F1 was let alone that there was a race going on.

      3. Well your likes/dislikes don’t matter I guess since you’re not the one making decisions.

        And Valencia & Yeongam ?? Really ?? Some “tastes” you have, I tell you !!!

      4. I will miss India, looked like a really good party, very special flavour to it. The drivers looked happy to go and it was one of the most different places to go

        Bet Vettel will miss him too…

      5. The thing I liked the most about Indian GP is it’s TV times. In my case, not too early and before lunch :)

        1. @jcost Hey, is one of the reaosn I love Canada, Brasil and Texas… not shame in liking F1 not to be in the early hours of the morning :D

          1. @celeste I like Canada, Brazil and US too. Canada is uaually at 7 p.m, US starts at 8 p.m (?) and Brazil at 6 p.m :)

            Much better than Asian rounds/Sinagapore…

            1. @jcost Polar opposites we are, in Australia most of our races are late at night, Brazil and Canada at 3am.

    5. I don’t know what to say .. feeling very gutted about Indian GP :( . I knew this was always on the line as interest is not as high as cricket .But , It’s not too bad either . People are slowly looking at other sports and if f1 comes to India it potrays a good global image . Viewevership can only improve if there are people who promote the sport . Maybe the tax problems were the last straw . I just feel sad for those who invested billions to make that wonderful track . Clearly Bernie is after money ! And now to think that I can’t probably attend this time around drives me crazy

    6. India is a cheap country. People don’t want to pay for their basic amenities let alone entertainment, so the high ticket prices was not at all popular among F1 lovers. People promote piracy in India in such a way that even artists from abroad don’t want to put up a concert even though there are mass followings of such particular artists. India has a very negative reputation for British, Americans and obviously Europeans. And that has nothing to do with racism or religion, in fact Indians are loved and respected for those, but it’s politics, greed and mostly the mentality of Indian people towards extravagant expenditure.
      I speak from personal experience.

      1. even artists from abroad don’t want to put up a concert even though there are mass followings of such particular artists

        I think apart from the piracy, a big part of it is exactly what troubles F1 – taxing. I understand that artists (entertainment – which F1 was also rumoured to be considered to be before the first race) pay up to a 5th of their turnover made in India to the country @aish

      2. Lets not start a flame war here, axing of IndianGP has more to do with taxation rather than “India is a cheap country” or “but it’s politics, greed and mostly the mentality of Indian people towards extravagant expenditure” (sic)
        You speak from your personal experience, but experiences may vary.

    7. Alonso has lost his PR mask and said the truth. Ferrari started the season with high hopes and wins but they’re being outdeveloped not only by Red Bull and Mercedes, but also by cash deprived Lotus.

      Fernando has been doing a respectable job thus far, but Ferrari has failed to fix their qualifying problems until now and their race pace doesn’t look that strong anymore.

      But specialists say moving to Red Bull in 2014 is risky, so Alonso just need to calm down and keep his thoughts to himself.

      1. @jcost I wouldn’t be surprised if the arrival of Allison on 1st Sept means that Ferrari will shift focus to 2014 completely. If they have a poor showing at Spa, the title will realistically be over. Their best chance of delivering a title for Alonso is next year with the rule changes. Doing that might be a way of convincing him to stay, at least for 2014, as well.

      2. @jcost – There is something very odd about this whole affair. For months, we’ve been getting talk of Raikkonen and Ricciardo being Red Bull’s preferred choices, and Horner has announced that they expect to make a decision by the end of the summer break. And then without any warning or rumour to fall back on, Alonso’s name gets mentioned.

        I think there is something much greater at work here. Two scenarios come to mind: one, Red Bull have made Raikkonen an offer and he is dragging his feet because he thinks he’s got the upper hand on Ricciardo, and so Red Bull discreetly drop Alonso’s name to the press to try and force him into making a decision; or two, Ferrari are behind the leak (and have made a show of chastising Alonso to cover their tracks), again to force someone to make a decision because they want a clearer picture of the driver market. This implies they are considering Ricciardo as a replacement for Massa, but know that the only way to get him out of his Red Bull YDP contract (short of buying him out) is to create a situation where a seat at Red Bull us available, but Ricciardo does not get an offer or Red Bull take someone else. The FIA’s Contract Review Board would never allow a situation where a team has full control over a driver’s career because it would open the door for teams to take on drivers and put themin a feeder series to stop other teams getting them.

        Ferrari manipulating the situation might seem like a crazy conspiracy theory, but Red Bull have slipped up. They have made it known that they are impressed with Ricciardo, and the teams all watch each other closely. If Red Bull take Raikkonen next year, you can bet that someone will make a play for Ricciardo.

    8. I’d prefer if Ferrari just decided that switching their focus to 2014 was more beneficial. With Red Bull, Lotus and Mercedes all in a heated battle, leaving Ferrari behind, it would give them a much needed jump on the opposition, and give Alonso the hope he needs for the future.

      No matter how optimistic they are, or how past seasons reflect such situations, I just can’t see Ferrari being able to overhaul the likes of Red Bull, especially when they have Lotus and Mercedes in the way.

    9. Let’s go through the nine circuits that have been added to the calendar since 2004, shall we?

      Bahrain (2004): no financial troubles, but since the 2011 the Bahraini uprising has led to one cancellation and two have gone ahead under protest.

      China (2004): has a contract until 2017, but has been loss-making since at least 2008 and organizers have refused to pay the high fee a few years ago.

      Turkey (2005): attendance rates have been low and because of financial troubles the circuit was dropped from the calendar in 2012.

      Valencia (2008): because of Spain’s financial troubles, the Valencia circuit will no longer host the European GP, but will alternate with Barcelona to host the Spanish GP from 2013 onwards.

      Singapore (2008): no financial troubles, will stay on the calendar until at least 2017.

      Abu Dhabi (2009): no financial troubles, will stay on the calendar until at least 2016.

      Korea (2010): finished just in time for the 2010 race, expected to drop from the calendar in 2014 due to financial troubles.

      India (2011): expected to be dropped for the 2014 season.

      Texas (2012): legal issues during construction, but seems to be fine for now.

      So if you look at these nine Grands Prix that have been added, only three of them seem to have a solid position on the F1 calendar. That’s a ridiculously low success percentage. The problem with the new circuits is that there is a lot of short-mindedness: the organizers, like the Indian GP organizers, are promised by Bernie Ecclestone that a Grand Prix is a great advertisement for the country, but in reality the perpetual stacking of losses will mean they will get stuck with a ridiculously expensive circuit that apart from those two or three times it hosted an F1 Grand Prix, won’t be used any more.

      The mindset of the Grand Prix organizers is wrong in my opinion: the goal should be to build a circuit that can turn a profit, not be a loss-stacking advertisement. And if the calculations show that the idea is not sustainable, then they shouldn’t build it. It’s simple economics (and I have had one year of economics in school). Plans should be thought through, not be built enthusiastically to find out it doesn’t work.

      1. @andae23 Quite right.

        And, of course, Bernie isn’t really bothered. He still gets paid and there’s always another country willing to throw a lot of money at hosting an F1 race.

        1. @iamjamm that’s really the ‘evil’ side of it: Bernie is just a consumer who sees GPs as something disposable and replaceable. And then why should he care? He’s probably out of the sport in a few months’ (or years, I’m not sure) time anyway.

      2. It’s not the promoters OR the circuit owners that benefit from a GP, yet they are the one’s expected to dish out all the money. The local economy benefits, but the local councils and provinces don’t want to pay!

        Look at Germany. One of the better countries to be in the whole world. Will the government put a cent towards saving the GP? Will they hell!

        Same goes for India. Sort your tax issues out or we won’t come. End of, you deserve what you get. These greedy and tight local and national governments need to understand one thing….Formula 1 is here for their benefit, not the other way around.

      3. An earlier date in 2015 for the Indian GP should set alarm bells ringing! Looking at this list of races, Turkey and Valencia were brought forward first, before disappearing completely.

        Malaysia and China have survived the early-season curse so far, although they’ve surely not attracted the ticket sales they were hoping for.

      4. Joanna Bessey (@bernie-ecclescake)
        30th July 2013, 11:57

        This new circuit should not depend only on F1, For example, Sepang Circuit and Shanghai Circuit host a lot more international event other than F1 such as MotoGP, A1GP, Super GT. They should learn something for them.

        1. jimscreechy (@)
          30th July 2013, 14:49

          True, and I think this is always the intention with the new tracks, but none of these events are the revenue earners F1 is. Many of the existing circuits have little use outside F1 when they are dusted off and pimped out for the race weekend… which is a bit of a shame really and hardly a cost effective way to run a venue… still. BTW didn’t A1GP die the Motorsport death a few years ago?

    10. It’s a real shame, I know there’s only been 2 races in India so far, but they have actually been really rather good! The circuit design is a lot better than the recent Tilke tracks.

      India’s tax laws do need refreshing. Up until recently Coca-Cola wasn’t even sold there because the government requires Coke to disclose their secret recipe, and then theres the whole needing to source 30% of your raw materials in India if you are to sell a product there. Thankfully it’s being phased out though.

    11. Many thanks for the COTD!

      As for the Indian GP, I didn’t really enjoy the race last year. The first-time excitment was not there anymore, the circuit seemed like nothing special, the race itself was rather dull and the smog made me feel like the end of the world was near. Unless I’m mistaken, my Indian friend @MalleshMagdum once told me that the circuit should really have been built in Southern India as that’s where the Indian motorsport action mostly takes place. In that sense, I wouldn’t be too sad to see the race at BIC go.

      That said, I believe that there must be an Indian GP on the calendar. A world championship should have one of its rounds in the second-most populous country in the world and there are so many motorsport enthusiasts, young drivers and fans in India. I think they deserve their own race and, if the current project is really destined to fail for whatever reason, then I hope that the involved authorities will make a better job next time.

    12. chirag_seb (@chiragsolanki29)
      30th July 2013, 11:11

      India is the best best race look at the longest circuit and high speed corners.and every driver love to here in India..The most challenging corners of 2012 from a tyre point of view were India’s turns 10 and 11. The longest continuous energy input into a tyre was recorded in these corners. this is a official F1 said before and the all they says is not in calendar in 2014 i cant believe this.!!

    13. Be a shame to lose India.

      Its a nice circuit, Fast & technical & popular amongst many of the drivers.
      People complain about Tilke often saying that teams/drivers should have input in track design, Yet they still moan about India which is a circuit designed using Team/Driver input.

      The races held there have been pretty good, Some nice, close scraps for position, Some nice Non-DRS overtaking & overall both have kept me well entertained.

      I also find it a really fun track to drive on the F1 games because of the fast, technical nature (Sort of tracks that tend to be more fun to drive round, Hence why India is popular amongst drivers).

    14. India and Korea will stay next year as I think they are in their 3rd year on a 5 year deal with FOM

    15. Great to hear the rumour of Australia being first round again, that’s the way it should be. March 16th is a nice early start to the season as well. Hamilton really can’t make his mind up regarding his car, but then again we are taking the words of tabloids as our source. I made the call last year when his switch to Mercedes was confirmed along with the resources they had acquired, they would be a top team this year. With enough people in their resources department to run a football league I expect next year will be even better. In regards to India losing the GP for 2014, Bernie has got his way with that many countries and organizers wanting Formula 1 now that he can play this game and he will continue to line his pockets while he still can.

    16. Reports have come out that India will not be hosting the race in 2014 and will instead be moved to an earlier date from 2015 onwards. Bernie is quoted as saying “When we signed the five-year deal with Jaypee, we were keen on going to India in the first half and Jaypee wanted it to be in October. We gave in at that time, but now it looks we will have the race early 2015,”
      “It (hosting one race in October 2014 and another in early 2015) was too close. Therefore, after speaking to promoters, we think it is best not to have a race in 2014 and have one in 2015,”
      “There are issues that need to be sorted out in your country. I hope the organisers are able to deal with it at the earliest.”

    17. Fikri Harish (@)
      30th July 2013, 15:24

      I like India. The track is pretty fast and the elevation changes are pretty nice.
      Out of the recent additions, it’s definitely one of my favorites.

      The last two races haven’t been quite spectacular but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a pretty good track.

    18. “I truly believe in this car. It feels awesome.”

      From “shocking” to “awesome” in a day and a half, with no changes to the car in between.

    19. On the onboard view as HAM approaches hes pit stop on lap 51/52 check the dood walking on the grass verge to he’s left just before the pit lane limiter, considering he’s first pit stop when he rode the kirb kicking up dust that’s not a wise place to be during a race.

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