Despite repeated claims that India is set to join the Formula 1 calendar as of 2010, the country's only driver ever to compete in the top flight to-date – Narain Karthikeyan – has suggested an Indian Grand Prix is still some way off.
The race would be held around a new, purpose-built, 5km-long Hermann Tilke-designed circuit at Greater Noida, near the capital city of Delhi, with construction reputedly due to begin early next month.
With the arrival of Force India in the uppermost echelon and GP2 Series front-runner Karun Chandhok bidding to become his country's second representative in F1 in 2010, India's motor racing pedigree has never looked in such rude health.
Force India F1 chairman and Indian national motorsport federation chief Vijay Mallya has long held the ambition of bringing the sport to India, and has claimed that the project – headed up by the Indian Olympic Association – has the backing of a major national bank and that event organisers have obtained the required land and set aside race fees.
With much money within India being directed towards the 2010 Commonwealth Games, however, it is believed that no funding has yet been set in place for an Indian Grand Prix, and even though the country's economy is booming, former Jordan Grand Prix star and A1GP winner Karthikeyan retains his doubts.
“Right now there is no infrastructure to hold a Formula 1 race,” the 31-year-old is quoted as having said by Merinews
. “The kingdom of Bahrain had unlimited funds and could hold the race successfully. Do we have such funds? I don't think so.”