Force India team principal Vijay Mallya has said that the dropping of the Indian Grand Prix next season is “disappointing” but he has no doubts over the long-term future of the race, which will return to the calendar in 2015.
F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone dropped the Indian Grand Prix from the 2014 calendar thanks to the race switching to a March date, with organisers not wanting to host two races just months apart from each other.
“Obviously we built a fantastic track, fulfilled the aspirations of hundreds of millions of young Indians, and then started moving and getting established in a country with huge long-term potential,” Mallya is quoted as saying by Autosport.
He added: “So to miss a year for whatever reason is obviously disappointing. Racing schedules are obviously important, but whether a country as important as India should miss out on a race in one calendar year is a debatable question.
“I am hoping that we will see the race back in India in 2015 if Bernie has decided that there cannot be a race in 2014, because according to him the calendar cannot accommodate it. But I think Bernie is smart enough to understand the enormous potential that there is in India. I don’t think he will take a short-term view.”
Mallya took over the Spyker F1 team at the end of 2007, turning it into the sport’s first Indian team – Force India. The 57-year-old revealed that the promoters have a commercial deal in place with Bernie Ecclestone and is confident that the race will return to the calendar in 2015: “I am proud of the race, but I don’t believe it is curtains. I know for a fact that the promoters in India have agreed all the commercial terms with Bernie [for 2015] and therefore I see no reason why it should not happen.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic