The news that prominent Indian businessman Vijay Mallya is in talks to take over the Spyker F1 team could be a big boost for the nation's hopes of hosting a grand prix in the coming years.

Rumours of an Indian Grand Prix have been rife for years, with the most recent announcement suggesting that Delhi will be the venue for a race as early as 2009. However, with no budget, infrastructure or backing yet, the likelihood of India holding a race in just two years looks slim.

Nonetheless, India remains a market Bernie Ecclestone is determined to crack and although negotiations have stalled on regular occasions, he told CNBC-TV18 that he remains keen for the country to have a spot on the calendar sooner rather than later.

"I hope within the next two years we will be racing in India. India is the same as everywhere else in the world," he said referring to claims that they would not be prepared to produce a venue sufficient compared to the likes of Bahrain and Turkey. "We race all over the world, so why not in India?"

Key to Ecclestone's hopes are Mallya, who is a major fan of Formula 1 and has already taken his Kingfisher Airline business to the Toyota F1 team as a key sponsor to their portfolio. With reports he is set to take the reigns of Spyker over the coming weeks, his presence is likely to aid India's chances.

"He is the guy to whom we have said to try and get it done for us. We relied on him and hope he does so. We are looking forward and hoping that the Olympic Committee will help us as well."

Meanwhile, India's only Formula 1 driver Narain Karthikeyan admits Mallya's interest in Spyker could revive his hopes of returning to a race drive, thanks to his links with the business man and the Kingfisher brand.

"It is fantastic to have an Indian controlling a team in Formula One," the Williams test driver told newspaper The Asian Age. "Mallya's brand Kingfisher has also consistently supported me during my career. I am in talks to find out the nature of my job for the next season."

 

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