The run-up to Formula 1 races being held in India was long with several challenges and delays. And when it did take place in 2011, the Indian GP could only go on until 2013 after which it ran into tax issues and a hiatus, and then discontinuation altogether.
(L to R) Amit Sandill, Director Racing, Fairstreet Sports, Carlos Ezpeleta, Managing Director, Dorna Sports, Sandesh Jaju, CFO, Fairstreet Sports
However, things are now looking up as two premier class motorsport events are making their way to India next season. Formula E is set to be the second biggest racing World Championship to be held here. The country will now be back on the global map for motorsports with the FIA Formula E in Hyderabad on the 11th of February 2023. The race makes a part of the championship’s ninth season 2022-23.
The race scheduled to be hosted in Hyderabad was approved by the FIA World Motor Sport Council and will be the fourth race after Mexico and a double-header in Saudi Arabia. A letter of intent (LOI) was signed between the Telangana government and Formula E officials in January this year.
And today, it was announced officially that India will be hosting a maiden MotoGP World Championship race, labelled as ‘Grand Prix of Bharat’, at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida. MotoGP commercial rights owner Dorna and Noida-based race promoters Fairstreet Sports are aiming at having the India race on the calendar as early as next year.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on Tuesday to host the premier-class motorcycle racing event in India for the next seven years. Riders from as many as 19 countries will participate in the event, which will give a major push to trade and tourism in the country, besides generating employment.
The first MotoGP race event in India could also see a curtain raiser for MotoE, a fully-electric motorcycle racing event. “MotoGP also has plans to also introduce MotoE into the Indian racing scenario which will not only be a first in Asia but a significant green initiative with net zero carbon emissions.”
FIA also began the MiniGP series last year that lets riders as young as 10 years old compete in motorcycle racing on 160cc bikes and then move on to 190cc. The qualified racers get to race in Valencia. MiniGP which serves as a great hunting ground for young talent is now also held in India.
The organisers are currently working with the UP government and Sports Ministry to bring the first MotoGP race to India by 2013. However, a more realistic timeframe would be 2024 as the track testing and modifications would require some months as well, plus the BIC track still needs to be homologated by the FIM (Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme).
Sure, Formula 1 race event ran into some trouble and had to be discontinued but the fact that two major motorsport events are making their way to India and soon means that a whole new avenue has been reopened for organisers. If MotoGP and Formula E prove to be successful, we could expect the F1 Indian GP to perhaps make a comeback as well.
Premier class motorsports are high-budget events that also generate employment. As per industry experts and economic analysts a significant boost to trade, tourism and employment is expected with an estimated 50,000 jobs direct and indirect and up to 5,000 jobs for the race weekend itself.
Not to mention, fans will be able to watch the race first-hand. Who knows an upcoming MotoGP season could soon have an Indian rider as well. Wouldn’t that double the charm?