A hole in the soul of Formula One

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TJ13 ran a poll last autumn asking our readers their thoughts on a possible return of the Indian GP. The results were:

42% It would be a shame if F1 didn’t return to India

30% Indifferent whether it stays or goes from the F1 calendar

28% F1 shouldn’t return to India as there are better places to go

The Indian GP fell from the Formula One calendar amid farce and financial collapse. The TJ13 article, “India and F1: A love hate relationship” in the Daily News and Comment (24/10/13), examined the details. This included a hearing before the Indian Supreme court just days before the race weekend. The petitioners were seeking to have the event cancelled.

Daily #F1 News and Comment: Thursday 24th October 2013

Following the poor attendance at the second year of F1 racing at the Buddh International Circuit, Narain Karthikeyan commented to the Times of India, “Delhiites are brand-conscious people. So in the inaugural season lots of people attended because that was the ‘in-thing’”.

The Indian’s did lose interest in Formula One – and they lost it fast. The first race on the Buddh International Circuit in 2011 saw 95.000 tickets sold. In2012, that figure fell to 65.000 and in the final year of the Indian GP, less than 30,000 were reported to have attended the event.

The promoters of the Indian GP were contracted for a Formula One weekend, both in 2014 and 2015, but was ‘released’ from their obligations.

However, the maker of magic, Bernie Ecclestone is now implying there is a return to the F1 calendar on the cards for the beleaguered event which takes place an hour from New Dehli.

“I hope we have a race in India next year,” the Press Trust of India report Ecclestone stating. “I am waiting for the promoters to come back to me. We will do whatever is needed to make sure India is back. There are no added challenges to the event. We just need the Jaypee Group to say that ‘we are happy to carry on’ and we can revive the existing contract.”

2016 should see the return of the German GP in Hockenheim plus the addition of the European GP hosted by Baku, Azerbaijan. This means for the first time there will be more than 20 F1 Championship races in a year.

With the calendar condensed for 2016 and the Australian GP kicking off the season two weeks later than its usual slot, there is some scepticism whether a 22nd race in India is really likely.

Given previous form, this could all be part of the Ecclestone horse trading currently going on behind the scenes with the promoters of the Italian GP in Monza, whose contract to host an F1 event runs out this year.

The Italian GP is believed to have been charged the smallest fee of all the F1 circuits, around 7 million Euros. Ecclestone reportedly wants them to pay the going rate for a European F1 race, between 15 and 20 million euros.

The Italian government has made matters worse, by killing off a 20 million euro tax rebate that Monza used to receive.

TJ13 readers considering going to a GP this year, should go to Monza, because it could seriously be the last time we see F1 cars there for the foreseeable future – if not ever again.

Should the Cathedral of Speed be lost from the F1 calendar, there will be a hole in the soul of Formula One.

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9 responses to “A hole in the soul of Formula One

  1. I believe there’s a hole in the soul of Bernie, which he fills with money.

  2. If we saw serious enthusiasm for F1 in these non-European venues it would be slightly less serious to see historic (and exciting – ie non-Tilke) circuits like Monza being axed. As it stands most of the circuits in Bongo-Bongo land (copyright noted) are conspicuously deserted or, in the case of China, partially obscured by impenetrable smog caused by the manufacture of iPhones.
    Let’s face it, F1 is holed beneath the waterline. Personally I’d be happy to see it sink entirely and a new vessel launched, minus the current captain and most of the officers.
    Meanwhile I watch MotoGP, which features real racing and a largely likeable cast of participants.

  3. And why is it so wrong to go back to the roots. If Europe is your main fan Base than its Europe where you need to be. Simple as that.

    • Well if everyone were to have that same outlook, then there would be no point broadcasting to other countries outside of Europe.

      • I dont mean only Europe. But if they go to a country 3 or 4 times and no one goes to see it but it did replace a track in a country where huge amounts of people came than there is something wrong… nobody seemed to care about India, yet in Imola the place was always packed…

        • Here’s a question.. Imola.. or Monza? It makes sense for Italy in particular to consolidate behind just one of the race tracks. Maybe Ferrari would prefer Mugello? Although.. I could see an alternation of Monza/Imola. Or even Monza/Hockenheim! Italy/Germany!

  4. Monza, Monaco, Silverstone, Spa, Nurburgring, Montreal. 6 circuits, 296 GPs! Add in Interlagos (8th) and Suzuka (13th), and that is probably most people’s “locked in” track list..

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