India's bid to host a round of the Formula One world championship will ride out the current financial crisis, despite the postponement of a race date having cast doubt on the project.
That is the promise being made by the head of the construction company in charge of creating the F1-spec track around 50km from the Indian capital, New Delhi. JPSK Sports Pvt Ltd managing director Samir Gaur also insists that the funding is in place to complete the build, amid what is set to be a major sporting complex near the fast-growing satellite town of Greater Noida.
Doubt had been cast on the viability of the project as the spreading financial crisis combined with the decision to push India's F1 debut back a year, from 2010 to 2011, but Gaur maintains that the circuit will be completed on time, despite construction reckoned to be costing up to $364m.
"The race was pushed back from 2010 because of the Formula One calendar," Gaur told Reuters
, "From what we understand, they had scheduled an India race only in 2011. The progress is very nice, and I'm absolutely, absolutely confident [that the circuit will be completed]. The design stage is in progress and, regarding construction, the investigations of the site have also started. The track will
be ready in 2011."
Gaur's Jaiprakash Associates operation was awarded the deal to hold F1 races in India after the Indian Olympic Association took the initial steps to bring a grand prix to a country taking an increasing interest in the sport following Narain Karthikeyan's race and test roles with Jordan and Williams, and Vijay Mallya's acquisition of what is now the Force India team..
"The figures vary, but the track construction will not be less than between 15 billion rupees to 18 billion rupees - [$363.78m] is just a ball-park figure," Gaur added, "I'm expecting the track to be completed in April 2011, and we plan to run trial events between May and July so that, in October, I think we can fix the calendar for the race."
Gaur's plans for the Greater Noida site extend beyond an F1-spec race track, however, with proposals for a major sporting facility that will include a 100,000-seater cricket stadium, 18-hole golf course and 25,000 capacity hockey stadium as he attempts to feed all of India's major sporting interests.