Formula 1 likely to bid farewell to India where the sport has failed to impress

F1 fans at last year's Indian Grand Prix

F1 fans at last year’s Indian Grand Prix

India looks set to bow out of Formula 1 amid a flood of bad press, as the stark reality sinks in that the sport has failed to sell itself to a potentially huge market.

Although provisionally scheduled to return in 2015, the country is falling off the Formula 1 calendar for now after this weekend’s race near New Delhi.

Autosprint correspondent Alberto Antonini introduced his coverage of the 2013 edition by referring to slums and local indifference, and reports of tax, customs and financial problems.

“We have missed an opportunity,” Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn, an Austrian who was born in Dehradun, is quoted as saying. “We have not been able to sell Formula 1 well enough in these parts.”

Antonini said that poor locals cannot afford to buy tickets, while the race is “a nightmare” for teams, weighed down by customs issues, chaotic traffic and fears of dengue fever.

The sun appears to have set on the future of the Indian GP

The sun appears to have set on the future of the Indian GP

McLaren is sponsored by Hilton, and so the mechanics are staying at the hotel that is plagued by disease-carrying mosquitoes, while the drivers and team boss Martin Whitmarsh are at the safer Jaypee Greens.

“The Hilton is really nice and the people are friendly and helpful,” Jenson Button’s manager Richard Goddard told the Daily Mail.

“But perhaps as the hotel is new, there has not been enough allowance made for the amount of mosquitoes in the area.”

McLaren spokesman Matt Bishop said staff have been issued with “powerful mosquito repellent spray”.

Sebastian Vettel will almost certainly wrap up his 2013 title in India, but his girlfriend and parents are staying away.

“India is a bit far away to visit for only one race,” his father Norbert told the Kolner Express newspaper.

Fomrula 1 has failed to win over the cricket loving nation - here Mark Webber does some batting

Fomrula 1 has failed to win over the cricket loving nation – here Mark Webber does some batting

Bild newspaper said that Vettel is taking all precautious to ensure his safety in India, refraining from putting ice in his drinks or eating local fruit and salads.

“To kill germs, he gargles with high-proof whiskey,” the report claimed, adding that Mercedes‘ Nico Rosberg “dodged a cow” on a highway on Wednesday.

“Nothing unusual,” the German driver Tweeted. Kaltenborn, however, thinks Rosberg has dodged his last farm animal.

She is quoted by Spain’s AS newspaper: “I think that once a country leaves [the calendar] it is very difficult to come back again, especially when we have not been able to establish the sport here.” (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.

  • Richard Piers

    So yet another “developing” country suffers as the mighty midget and his parasitic chums augment their pension funds.
    When will someone get a grip on the situation. Come on FIA it’s your championship and at so many levels it gets more farcical by the day.

  • Boycottthebull

    As much as I love to poke ridicule at Billionaire Bernie and the FIA this farce is really down to India themselves. The article uses terms like “we failed to sell the sport” but the Indians themselves went through a legal process to have F1 declared as Entertainment and is no longer considered a ‘sport’ because once its declared as entertainment they can put another hefty tax on everything. So in a typical Indian fashion is just to get more money for themselves. They even have the gall to claim the tax not only on revenues generated by the race itself they claim that since there are 19 races they want the tax paid on an equal share of all 19 races. So the fact that the Indian race has a poor turn out they want to tax profits from the big races in other countries who have spent decades perfecting their events! And you though Bernie was greedy! At this very moment just a few days before the 2013 race the are legal petition is before the Indian High Court to call a halt to this years race till the “entertainment tax” from previous races is paid. This is not about not selling it to the public its about their own greed shooting themselves in the food. Goodbye GP India you certainly wont be missed!

  • Stoner

    I would rather watch it on a TV, There are a lot of sadist and corrupt people in the govt and bureaucracy system. I would rather want this country to remove them and develop the country before bringing any F1 event.

  • Tamburello_1994

    India might of worked if Karthikeyan and or Chandhok could have been more than the moving chicanes they turned out to be.

  • MighyK

    How about we put Magny-Cours back on the schedule.