27 July 2013
Teams shrug off India doubts, admit Germany important
Concerns over the future of the Indian and German grands prix were addressed, if not conclusively, by team bosses at the Hungaroring.
Despite rumours that the Indian Grand Prix could be under threat for 2014, teams appeared reluctant to write off the chances of heading to the Buddh International Circuit next year.
While the race has proven popular with drivers and fans alike, the country's determination to tax participants is less admired, leading to suggestions that the race could become a convenient casualty as other venues queue up for inclusion on the 2014 schedule.
With Russia already expected to take up a late-season slot next year, the recent announcement that Austria is to return to the calendar and ongoing claims that New Jersey will be ready to host a second American event, the calendar is already over-crowded, but team bosses insist that they have not heard anything to suggest that India could be one race to make way for the newcomers.
“I think you know that the calendar is in the hands of the promoter and we have a great promoter, so wherever we need to go, we will go,” Mercedes' Toto Wolff claimed, somewhat enigmatically.
Confirmation that the subject had been raised, however, was provided by Marussia's John Booth, but there was still no suggestion that the trip to the subcontinent had been canned for 2014.
“It was a private meeting [with Bernie Ecclestone at the Hungaroring], so it's not for public discussion,” Booth insisted, “As far as I'm aware, the Indian Grand Prix is on the schedule and we'll be going.”
Given the uncertainty over its status for 2013, following the bankruptcy proceedings against the Nurburgring and ongoing financial concerns over staging the race annually at Hockenheim, Germany could also be a target for any cull, but the teams insist that F1 needs to do what it can to keep the nations that formed the bedrock of the sport in its infancy.
“Germany is very important,” Toro Rosso's Franz Tost emphasised, “Nurburgring, of course, because of the history, but also the Hockenheimring. I think these are the classic races which we need in Europe.”
Although the return of Austria and addition of Russia would provide a welcome boost to the European race count, the likes of Britain, Italy and Germany have the strongest links to the past.
“All European races are very important,” Marussia's John Booth echoed, “I think it's where grands prix were born and we need to maintain them as long as possible.”
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