NEW DELHI: After months of suspense and speculation, an Indian F1 race is now a certainty. Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Suresh Kalmadi inked an agreement with F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone in London on Monday, committing to lay down the rights fee by September 30.
The F1 circuit will come up at realty giant DLF’s special economic zone (SEZ) in Gurgaon district, Haryana. The company, which had expressed its interest in setting up an F1 track four months back, is also said to have a heavy stake in the deal.
Former Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India president Vicky Chandhok, who is currently in London, confirmed the development. “Kalmadi is meeting Bernie to sign a time-bound deal to construct an F1 track. This reaffirms his support for motor sport as he had earlier given us IOA affiliation,” he said.
The deal does not guarantee a race but it does imply that Kalmadi has committed to a circuit. “We will help Kalmadi in every possible way to bring and organise the race in India,” Chandhok added.
Though Kalmadi has said India will host an F1 race by 2009, sport enthusiasts say it’s more likely to materialise in 2010.
This is because the fastest F1 race track ever constructed in the world - at Sakhir in Bahrain - took about 18 months of non-stop work.
Germany GP circuit designer Hermann Tilke, who visited Delhi, Noida and Uttar Pradesh to inspect sites, is believed to have recommended Gurgaon.
The exact details of the monies involved are sketchy. The figure of $30 million for the fee is doing the rounds, while Formula Money - the latest book on F1 economics - cites a sum in the vicinity of $20 million as race sanction fee for new events.