India given F1 green light
India plans to hosts its first Formula One GP in 2010.
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2007 12:02 GMT
The roar of Formula One racing will soon hit New Delhi [GALLO/GETTY]
Indian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi has announced India will host its first Formula One Grand Prix in 2010.
Formula One management had approved two sites on the outskirts of New Delhi to build a circuit and the IOA, who will act as the race promoters, have been authorised to make the final choice.
Kalmadi said that track architect Hermann Tilke had inspected the prospective sites before briefing Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.
"I met Mr. Ecclestone in London last week and I'm happy to say he told me it is a good report and that they have selected two sites for the F1 track.

"He also handed over to me the two draft contracts, for race promotion of the Grand Prix of India in the F1 world championship and the circuit rights agreement.

"I'm happy to say the first race has been finalised for the year 2010," he added.

"We'll be signing the contract for 2010. The month is not finalised but it could be March, the first race, or after the Bahrain Grand Prix."

Keen to join exclusive club

India, who are currently riding an economic boom, have been keen to stage a Formula One race and received a boost in June when the IOA announced they had received a letter from Formula 1 administration allowing them to bring the race as early as 2009.

However, in order to for the race to become a reality the organisers were asked to meet many tough conditions, including financial terms, before Sept. 30 in an offer letter.

Kalmadi said the deadline has now been extended.

"The contract will be for a minimum 10 years," he said.

"We have to work out how to utilise the track round the year."

Kalmadi rejected concerns the Formula One efforts could affect preparations for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

Construction concerns

The IOA has already been criticised over the slow progress of work for the Games.

The two sites chosen were in Sohna, near the industrial hub of Gurgaon to Delhi's south west, and Greater Noida, a fast developing area to the capital's east.

Kalmadi said the IOA would discuss with the Delhi government before partnering with business groups for building the track.

There has been a surge in interest in Formula One in India since Narain Karthikeyan became the first from the country to become a Formula One driver in 2005.

While, leading India businessman Vijay Mallya this month made a $110 million offer for the Dutch-owned Spyker team along with the team's director of F1, Michiel Mol.

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