Despite being in the heart of both political and sporting rival Pakistan, Sheikh Maktoum took the opportunity to announce the arrival of India as the latest team to commit the A1 Grand Prix series.

Pakistan and India have long been opponents, often deadly rivals, both on and off the sports field, and the announcement coincided with the arrival of the Pakistani cricket team in India for a rare cricket series. However, the Sheikh's attentions were fixed firmly on his race series, as he welcomed another sporting rivalry into the fold.

"I am happy and delighted that A1 Team Pakistan is hosting the event where I am able to announce the participation in the series of A1 Team India," he said, "It shows how sports can bring people together in friendly competition. It is the first time in history that a launch of a Pakistani national sporting team has been a platform for the announcement of an Indian national sporting team - one of its oldest rivals."

The Team India franchise has been acquired by the Gupta family, who own the ?100million turnover Sahara Computer Group.

"We feel honoured and privileged to be the seat holder for India and believe that A1 Grand Prix brings back the real passion to motorsport where the talent and technique of the driver supersedes the machine he is driving," commented managing director Atul K Gupta, "A1GP ignites the fire of patriotism which has been lacking in the sport for some time and I would like to thank Sheikh Maktoum and his team to have bought this concept into reality. I think it is an invaluable contribution to not only the motor industry but to the fans of motorsport in general."

The announcement of team India will add to the motorsport fever currently sweeping the country following the confirmation that Narain Karthikeyan will become the first Indian in Formula One, having signed with the Jordan team for 2005.

 

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