Greater Noida, Oct 25 (IANS) Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone remains passionate about establishing the sport in India and is hoping that the government will wake up to supporting F1 in the country.
"Look at this circuit. It is fantastic. It is one of the best in the world. You can't let it go away. We are negotiating with Jaypee Group to bring the race back in 2015. But in the long run, your government will have to support it," a source close to Ecclestone told IANS in the paddock of the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) ahead of the third Indian Grand Prix Sunday.
F1 is off the calendar next year and most are questioning its return in the near future.
"Despite the problems, Ecclestone loves India and he wants to have the race. At the same time, he is puzzled with teams complaining about the administrative hassles in India. Your government needs to wake up to support this global event," said the source.
The Indian government doesn't consider motor racing as a sport. It was only last month the International Olympic Committee (IOC) gave full recognition to the FIA, world governing body for motorsports, of which the Indian body FMSCI is a member.
The source said the hurdles in customs, visa and taxation were not as big as made out to be by the teams.
"There are issues but it will all end if your government supports the sport followed by millions around the world. A tiny country like Abu Dhabi invites multiple heads of state for its Grand Prix, promotes the event so good. If they can do it, a country of more than a billion can easily do it," he said.
Ecclestone wants to shift the race in the first half of the year while the organisers prefer the current slot. Both parties have signed a five-year contract starting with 2011.
Asked how tough would it be for F1 to return to India, the source said: "The comeback is always tough but as I said Ecclestone doesn't want to part ways with the country in the first place."
The F1 czar will be in the BIC paddock Saturday and Sunday.
(Bharat Sharma can be contacted at email@example.com)