Indian A1GP team going bankrupt

UPDATE I cannot understand why the Indian team cannot find a sponsor. There are hundreds of computer companies that depend on India to keep their bottom line out of the red, by exporting programming and technical support jobs to India. One would think that with those kinds of relationships, one would see a Computer Associates or a Dell, or Gateway, or even a Microsoft or any of the hundreds of other tech companies.

I would think it would be pretty easy to leverage their value and position to gain such support. After all, sending the jobs there is not a matter of charity. India has a technical post-secondary education system that is on par with any nation in the world. Many argue it is in fact superior.

So as they obviously have a value, and account for huge savings for companies in industry segments that has as many thin margins as it does big profits. I have a hard time understanding why the support could not be found. It is amazing how many people get into the sport and write the big checks, and really don't seem to understand how to make their racing business work. After all, there are big racing teams with far less resources than some of the billionaire owners of less successful teams out there, and they find the dollars and they win races. One would think that with more resources, there would be more results. In fact, the opposite seems to be more often the case. Lance Freespeed, Miami, FL.

Dear Lance, The real issue is dilution of product. There are so many racing series out there vying for media attention and racing sponsorship that they are ALL, except for F1 and NASCAR, barely keeping their head above water. They are all diluting their efforts insuring that they will never become a huge success. How can they when an infomercial gets as good or better TV ratings. With NASCAR and F1 sitting atop the perch with big TV ratings, the France family (NASCAR) and Bernie Ecclestone (F1) smile with joy as they watch all those other series cut each others throats to pick up the leftover crumbs that they cast aside.

We see new racing series popping up all the time because someone thinks they have a better idea. And for each new one that pops up, we see another go under. There simply is not much commercial value in these bottom feeders as the series principals are finding out. There is a real need for consolidation in the industry if these other series are going to amount to anything. They need to combine their resources and their talent to create a commercially viable product. We said it about Champ Car and IRL, Champ Car and A1GP, ALMS and Grand-Am, and it applies to every series out there. United we stand, divided we fall, was never more applicable. Mark C.

02/07/06 The Indian A1 GP team is in the process of being disbanded as South African-based franchise holder Atul Gupta has run out of patience with the team's lack of performance. The major problem seems to be one of funding as the Indian business community has not jumped to support the team as Gupta had been hoping. The team started out being promoted by Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor, who was named as one of the franchise-holders, but even that has not helped. Results have been poor as the driver Armaan Ebrahim, son of team principal Akbar Ebrahim, has not scored any good result. It seems that for the moment the only driver in India who is capable of raising big money is Narain Karthikeyan, who has used his connections and experience to get backing to become the fourth driver at Williams this year. The concept of A1 Grand Prix was to trade off national pride and if India cannot raise the kind of money needed there must be fears for other teams.

It is also not very good for the dream of an Indian Grand Prix as such an enterprise is going to cost tens of millions of dollars and the A1 team was not even able to raise $8m.

[Editor's Note: We said a long time ago that Shaikh Maktoum should take the billion dollars he is spending on A1GP and merge with Champ Car, which has aspirations of international expansion. Together they could make a formidable pair. Divided they exist.]

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