Ecclestone threatens to dump Indian GP - updated

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The Buddh International Circuit that has played host to the Indian Grand Prix since 2011 is risking to be dropped off the 2014 Formula One calendar, according to Bernie Ecclestone.

Speaking at the Hungarian GP, Ecclestone didn't need many words to put out a strong warning to the Indian race organisers: "Is India going to happen next year? Probably not".

One of the most pressing issues with the race is that it involves a lot of politics around the organisation, already since the very beginning of India's Formula One adventure. Although the organiser Jaypee Sports International has a 5-year contract in place, all signs are pointing in a different direction.

Speaking to Times of India, Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) president Vicky Chandhok said however that he was in talks with FOM and the FIA on India's behalf regarding next year's F1 calendar. "I don't think this is the end of the Indian GP. Jaypee and the FOM have been in talks for holding the race in early 2015. It doesn't make sense for them to hold the race in October of 2014 and then March or April 2015. The costs involved in hosting the race are too high, making it impractical," he said.

But, fortunately, the organiser realises that political issues really at the main problem, and when sorting these out may be hosting F1 for much longer. "Since the first year itself we have had problems dealing with the customs as well as tax issues. The sports ministry's NOC arrived at the very last minute over the last two years. This, despite the fact that we have been depositing Rs 10 crore for the National Sports Development Fund directed by the sports ministry in time."

In essence, Ecclestone is building the pressure as he is slowly puzzling the 2014 Formula One calendar together. This will see Sochi host the Russian Grand Prix and New Jersey being added to the calendar. More recently, a deal was struck with Red Bull for Austria to return to the calendar as well. Ecclestone also said at Hungary that the contract for the Hungaroring had been extended into 2021.

With teams currently not very willing to have a 22-race calendar, some venues are risking to be dropped, even if they would have the necessary finances to pay FOM.

UPDATE - One day later, Ecclestone said to Indian news agency IANS: "When we signed the five-year deal with Jaypee, we were keen on going to India in the first half and Jaypee wanted it to be in October. We gave in at that time, but now it looks we will have the race early 2015. It was too close. Therefore, after speaking to promoters, we think it is best not to have a race in 2014 and have one in 2015."