The Indian Grand Prix has officially been cut from the 2014 Formula One world championship calendar, with officials hopeful of a 2015 return.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone told Reuters ahead of Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix that the Indian race was in doubt due to political issues.

"Is it going to happen next year? Probably not," Mr Ecclestone told Reuters.

But the 82-year-old billionaire confirmed the race's departure from the 2014 calendar today, claiming race dates had begun to conflict too much.

"When we signed the five-year deal with Jaypee (the owners of the Buddh International Circuit), we were keen on going to India in the first half [of the season] and Jaypee wanted it to be in October," he told Indo-Asian News Service.

Ecclestone revealed FOM conceded the October race date for its first two runnings, but now require the event to be staged earlier in the year for logistical convenience.

The Indian Grand Prix organisers toyed with hosting their 2014 race in October followed by next year's event just a few months later, but conceded the time delay wasn't enough.

"It (hosting a Grand Prix in October and then again a few months later) 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.

"I really want it to continue (after its current five-year contract is up), but it all depends on a lot of other factors. The sport is expanding its base every year."

The inaugural Indian Grand Prix in 2011 was hailed as a success by the Jaypee Group, but attendance numbers dropped the following year from 95,000 on raceday to 65,000.

The Turkish Grand Prix was dropped from the calendar following the 2010 season and the European Grand Prix at the Valencia Street Circuit is currently being visited every other year due to financial difficulties.

Despite worldwide economic uncertainty, a number of nations are expected to host an inaugural Grand Prix in coming years.

The Grand Prix of America and Russia are expected to take place in 2014 along with the Austrian Grand Prix, which will return to the calendar for the first time since 2003.

 

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Formula 1