India still has future in F1, claims Chandhok
The race in New Delhi has been dropped for 2014, but rumours of a return in 2015 are circulating
Bernie Ecclestone does want Formula 1 to have a future in India.
That is the claim of former driver Karun Chandhok on the day it was confirmed the New Delhi race would not be on the calendar in 2014.
The former HRT and Caterham driver, who's father Vicky is the head of India's motorsport association, was involved in talks with Bernie Ecclestone over the uncertain future the Indian GP has.
"We are trying to work out a way for the Indian GP to coexist in a now packed calendar, for both sides -- (organiser) Jaypee Group and the Formula One Group," sports car driver Chandhok told the Indian broadcaster NDTV.
Recent speculation has linked the axing of India from the schedule in 2014 with a look to an earlier slot on the 2015 calendar.
Chandhok insisted: "I was on call with Bernie earlier today and what we've come to know that everyone must understand is that both sides want an Indian Grand Prix."
Chandhok also touted the possibility of India rotating a slot on the calendar meaning it hosted a race every two years as more and more countries look to boost their profile with Formula 1.
"However," Chandhok said, "then you have to figure out whether hosting a race every alternate year will be a viable option for all host countries or not. "Let's not forget that a lot of investment is done for hosting a race, for keeping the safety norms in place. Does it then makes sense to invest so much on the circuits just for one year? "There will be much deliberation on such matters," added Chandhok, who raised the possibility of India sharing its date with Malaysia. He said: "But much of it is just speculation. We just need to see how the cards unfold."
Indian businessman Vijay Mallya, who runs the Force India F1 team, has taken a stronger stance - calling for changes in the regulations regarding tax, the main issue of dispute between Ecclestone and Indian organisers.
Mallya, who is no stranger to India's tax code as he battles with his failing airline Kingfisher told ESPN: "Yes there is a problem with India's tax authorities, but India's tax authorities tend to be a very difficult bunch," he said.
"They even launched a humongous tax claim on Vodafone and Nokia and other multi-national companies. This sort of standoff on taxes is nothing unusual.
"Their logic is that there are 19 races and one race is India, therefore 1/19th of all revenue generated in Formula One is subject to Indian tax.
"From a narrow-minded, Indian tax man's point of thinking maybe that is justifiable, but we need to sit down with them and engage with them and say, 'Listen, this is not the only country that's hosting an F1 race. There are other countries that have been hosting F1 races for decades and they don't make the same demands. So how can you?'
"The Indian government on one side say they want India to be modern, vibrant country and want the global society and global industry and global sport to take notice of India and its potential.
"But the irrational behaviour by the taxman doesn't support such a mission. So it's a question of sitting around the table and hammering it out with them."
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