Crash.Net F1 News
Stewart: India not sending 'a good message' by skipping 2014
9 August 2013
Three-time F1 champion Sir Jackie Stewart believes India will suffer from not having a grand prix in 2014.
Confirmation that the Indian Grand Prix won't take place next season, but will then return in 2015 came at the end of last month, with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone making the announcement
following the recent race at the Hungaroring.
Stewart, however, believes the decision to skip staging an event at the Buddh International Circuit in 2014 is 'not good'.
“It is certainly not a good message the Indian Grand Prix is sending out to the motorsports world, and is not positive for India's image when questions are raised about it. But as I am not aware of the implications involved, so it would be inappropriate for me to comment further,” Stewart told the Indo-Asian News Service
The future of the event has come under the microscope due to red tape and local taxation rules - something Stewart has said definitely needs to be addressed.
“F1 is now one of the largest sports in the world, simply because from March until the end of November, there is a race almost every two weeks with large car makers involved and a lot of major multi-national corporations joining it. So, I think it would be good and beneficial for India to have a Grand Prix, attracting the world's attention for that weekend,” he continued.
“I don't know much about the tax issues and as for the customs, F1 has been able to handle the issue in every other country we go to - whether it's Hungary, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia or China. This is something that the Indian government should, perhaps, study, by visiting one of the Grand Prix races in Europe, to see how their authorities go through the process,” he added.
The inaugural race in India took place in 2011, attracting almost 100,000 fans. However last year that number dropped to 60,000.
Stewart is adamant though, that is just normal, given the country is so new to the sport and he is confident the event can be a success - given time.
“It will take some time before the culture of motorsport is fully understood in India. We have experienced the same issues in Bahrain, China, Korea, Malaysia, Abu Dhabi and even in America, where Grand Prix race did not take place for many years.
"This year's race is crucial and if the race in 2015 gets right promotion, there's no reason why it shouldn't again attract large crowds,” he concluded.