The F1 ball is in Jaypee's court

Greater Noida, Oct 28 (IANS) The youngest four-time Formula 1 World champion, Sebastian Vettel, put the uncertainty over the 2015 Indian Grand Prix in perspective by saying "it's a shame we are not racing here next year".

The 2013 Indian GP will be best remembered for Vettel's crowning after storming to his third consecutive victory at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) Sunday.

Vettel was not diplomatic like most others when he said the show at Greater Nodia must go on. For that to happen, the work has to start in all sincerity by the organisers. Their immediate tas is to take F1 to masses and get into a dialogue with both the state and central governments on treating motor racing as a sport and not entertainment.

Race organisers Jaypee Sports International (JPSI) made India proud by building the $400 million facility and getting a truly global sport to the country. But they need to do much more to promote the event by marketing it well.

Though a near-capacity Grandstand saw Vettel celebrating his historic feat, the spectator interest has been dwindling over the three years. Organisers claimed a Sunday turn-out of 60,000, but some sparsely populated stands in the 100,000-capacity circuit mocked at them.

The glamour quotient was at its lowest this time and little was done to create a buzz in the lead up to the racing weekend.

"I would give myself a nine on ten for the way we managed the event. Promotion wise I agree we need to do a lot more. But you have to understand promotion depends on the state of economy and in the current situation, we have done the best we can," JPSI chief executive Sameer Gaur told IANS.

It is no secret that the Jaypee Group is sitting on a debt of more than Rs.60,000 crore ($13 billion). It pays $40 million (around Rs.230 crore) annually to host the F1 race.

Gaur, however, is ready to bet his life for the F1 return in 2015, but admits government support is a must in the long run, much like most other venues enjoy.

"It is okay if the government doesn't share the hosting fees. But if they embrace F1, the issues of taxation faced by us, teams and Formula One Management (FOM), we all could breathe easy. It would also be great if they can help us promote the event. The government has a much bigger reach than what we have as a private company. It must realise the sport raises the country's profile immensely," explained Gaur.

To start with the basics, the tax and bureaucratic hurdles could be addressed if the government recognises the Indian motorsports body, the FMSCI, as it has already done in the case of 52 national sports federations (NSF).

"It is time we got government recognition. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently made our parent body, the FIA, its full member," FMSCI president Vicky Chandhok told IANS Monday.

"The sports ministry wanted us to adopt certain guidelines and we have done that. Now I will be meeting the sports minister soon and I am confident we will get things done in the next three weeks. It is not only important in regard to F1, but to the growth of Indian motorsports as a whole," said Chandhok.

Chandhok also made a valid point on expanding F1's reach across the country.

"The promotion cannot only be Delhi centric. We need to reach out to more and more people, especially in south India where there is a substantial fan base."

The talk leading to the Indian GP was all about its future with most in the F1 fraternity saying a comeback on the calendar anytime soon would be tough. The nay sayers are likely be proved wrong if India gets its act together.

"Some countries are easier to go to and vice-versa. F1 is a multinational sport and if there is a lot of paper work required to come to India, we have to accept the procedures, so long the interest is there. As of now, I feel India has not realised the potential of F1. I hope things go in the right direction as it is such an important market for our sport," concluded McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

On-field action set to divert from off-field drama

On-field action set to divert from off-field drama

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

There's a lot going on, I won't lie: Stephen Fleming

There's a lot going on, I won't lie: Stephen Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Michael Klinger has revealed he felt compelled to leave South Australia after being told he would be only a fringe part of the Redbacks' plans for next season, and disputed the suggestion that he left… More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

The revival of Indo-Pak Test ties could take place in UAE. More »

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

'This time around we will hope to go few more steps ahead and actually get that trophy' More »

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Apart from the foreign players a lot of behind-the-scene activity has taken place in selecting the Indian domestic players. More »

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Leading Spanish club Atletico Madrid and former cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly are among the owners of eight franchises of a new Indian… More »

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

Kiwi all-rounder wants to utilise the India leg to explore the country’s tourist attractions. More »

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Says his mother made him change his mind. More »

Pietersen’s ‘little’ secret is out

Pietersen’s ‘little’ secret is out

A fractured little finger could now throw the Delhi Daredevils captain out of action at the start of this season. More »

Supreme Court says no to BCCI’s request

Supreme Court says no to BCCI’s request

Bench refuses to grant access to recordings of Srini and Dhoni’s depositions before Mudgal committee. More »

SMA Trophy gets short-changed

SMA Trophy gets short-changed

Key players are away preparing for the IPL, taking the shine off the other domestic T20 fixture. (CYCSPL) More »

IPL’s credibility needs rebuilding

IPL’s credibility needs rebuilding

Players, coaches, team management and franchises would do well to realise that the seventh edition of the IPL is under intense scrutiny and credibility… More »