Double in a decade: India can look to host two F1 races, says Ecclestone

Written by Reuters | Greater Noida | Updated: Oct 27 2012, 07:20am hrs
India can hope to host two Formula One races within the next decade but the country faces plenty of competition on a crowded calendar, according to the sports commercial supremo, Bernie Ecclestone.

In a conversation ranging from sacred cows on Indias roads to Lewis Hamiltons move to Mercedes next season, the Briton told reporters at the Indian Grand Prix that a second race in the country was a possibility.

Weve got too many races now either in the championship or about to go in. So, later on maybe. Three or four years, he said.

Ecclestone doubted it would be in Mumbai, home to Bollywood and the financial capital, but one of the other big places instead.

Asked whether Mumbai would not be the obvious place, with Sundays race catering for the capital at the Buddh Circuit some 45km south of New Delhi, he grinned mischievously: Probably is, actually.

Next years calendar will have 19 races, a reduction from 20 this season, with New Jerseys debut postponed to 2014 and Valencia now alternating with Barcelona.

Russia is due to make its first appearance in 2014, with a race following on from the Winter Olympics in Sochi, and Mexico and Thailand are among those countries also pushing to be included.

Ecclestone said next year would be too soon for Mexico, whose interest in the sport is likely to soar with Sergio Perez replacing Hamilton at McLaren. The country last hosted a grand prix at Mexico Citys Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, a circuit named after the late brothers Pedro and Ricardo who raced for Ferrari in the 1960s, in 1992.

They havent got a circuit thats ready, said Ecclestone, who shook his head when asked about the old one.

The Briton, looking in good shape ahead of his 82nd birthday on Sunday, said New Jerseys decision to postpone had not cost local organisers money because they havent got it and hoped a new contract would be agreed for 2014.

Sitting in front of a backgammon set having just concluded a board meeting with old friend and playing partner Karl-Heinz Zimmermann Ecclestone was open-minded about the championship as it entered the decisive last four races.

Ecclestone cast a blind eye on the hazards of driving in India, where cows often wander across highways and elephants loom out of the dark among the unlit trucks and mopeds.

Its no more (mad) than lots of places we go to. Are you going to Brazil, enquired the bespectacled octogenarian, who is driven to the track in India. I havent seen any cows. Same as when I went to Bahrain. I didnt see any protesters.