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India not giving up hope

NEWS STORY
06/03/2014

Officials in India are working hard to resolve a taxation anomaly that threatens the future of Formula One in the country.

Yesterday, Bernie Ecclestone confirmed that, contrary to speculation, India will not return to the calendar in 2015 indeed, it will probably be 2016 before the sound of F1 fills the Buddh International Circuit.

One of the reasons that India has slipped off the calendar so quickly is the fact that Formula One is seen as entertainment in the country and not as sport, which has led to problems with the taxman.

Now, the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) is working towards a solution that might see the sport (entertainment) return to the country.

"It's unfortunate but once the government gives the recognition I am very hopeful that Mr Ecclestone's concerns will be satisfied," Akbar Ebrahim, the chairman of racing at FMSCI, told Reuters.

"The good thing is that the International Olympic Committee has recognised the FIA and made it a full member," he added. "So once we have the recognition the drivers are no longer going to be considered as entertainers but as athletes.

"The required paperwork that was asked for by the government of India has been already submitted a month back," he revealed. "It's a priority. This recognition is not just for F1 but it is beneficial for the grass root level of Indian motorsports, too."

Previously, organisers Jaypee Sports were forced to spend close to Rs 8 (£900k) to import cars and equipment for each race, the Indian Sports Ministry not considering F1 a sport or event of "national importance" therefore refusing to waive the duty.

It had been hoped that in future the 'importer' would only need to execute a bond with Customs, with adequate security/surety, to re-export the vehicles/equipment within 30 days of the completion of the event.

Chris Balfe

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