India plans F1 street race

UPDATE There is talk of a street race in Hyderabad in India but the project depends on the local government deciding to fund the program. The government of the state of Andhra Pradesh has already said it will not fund the costs of building a permanent state-of-the-art racing facility but might be convinced to fund a street race which would cost less money and would, in theory at least, generate just as much money and coverage for the city. The downside of the idea is that the ongoing costs of a temporary facility would be considerably more than would be the case if a permanent facility was built. A street track would also not help to generate any local racing industry which really needs a permanent facility. The idea is being pushed by the Federation of Motor Sports Club of India (FMSCI) which enjoyed some success this year with a street race in Kolkata (Calcutta) in February after 15 years during which such activities had almost completely disappeared in India. The Kolkata event was made possible with sponsorship from the local JK Tire company which has been funding a national racing championship for some years. The 1.7-mile circuit was laid out on the streets of the Rajarhat district and featured a race with classes for the local Formula Maruti, Formula LGB and saloon cars. At the time the FMSCI chairman Vicky Chandok said that he hoped that this event would lead to a Formula 3 race in the future. JK Tires has long supported the search for young Indian talents and is involved in karting in India. The company helped to nurture the young Narain Karthikeyan and there are plans for bigger and better events in Kolkata although the dream of an Indian Grand Prix still seems to centre on Hyderabad. The problem is not the cost of preparing a street circuit but rather finding the kind of money that is needed to get Formula One Management to stage a race. Grandprix.com 11/30/04 (GMM) India still wants to host a Formula One race. Funding for a purpose-built track in Hyderabad were canned by a new government, but the Motor Sports Club of India is now working on a plan for a Monaco-like street event in Andhra Pradesh. That option would be cheaper and easier for a government to justify, an advisor to the MSCI told an Indian newspaper. ''When the F1 circus lands somewhere they require about 2500 (hotel) rooms alone,'' said Sanjay Sharmi, ''and if we consider the other economic benefits … we can imagine the gain to India.''

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