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Organizers confident of retaining Indian Grand Prix in 2014

Organizers confident of retaining Indian Grand Prix in 2014

NEW DELHI, July 29: Indian Grand Prix organisers said Monday they hoped not to lose the race after Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone hinted that India could miss out in 2014.

Ecclestone reportedly expressed doubts about India and South Korea hosting races next year at a confidential briefing for team principals during last weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix.

Jaypee Sports International, which has organised the Indian Grand Prix at its circuit in Greater Noida outside New Delhi since 2011, said it hoped the race would not be taken away.

"We do not have any communication from Formula One management in this regard," Jaypee Sports spokesman Askari Zaidi told AFP.

"Our agreement to hold F1 races at the Buddh International Circuit is valid till 2015, and we are keen to hold the races at least till then."

The bone of contention appears to be the Indian government's decision to tax the race organisers and drivers during their stay in the country.

Ecclestone is reported to have agreed to pay a flat-rate sum for this year's October 25-27 race to meet government demands, but could favour other prospective hosts from 2014 onwards.

Political and financial issues are reported to be the main concerns in India and South Korea, prompting Ecclestone to eye new venues in the United States, Russia and Austria.

"I'm juggling a lot of balls," he reportedly said at the meeting in Budapest.

Formula One is looking to add up to three races to its calendar in 2014 with the Black Sea resort of Sochi, the hosts of next year's Winter Olympics, set to become the first Russian venue on the circuit.

Other new venues on the cards are Spielberg in Austria and New Jersey in the United States.

Local officials in charge of the Yeongam circuit in South Korea are reportedly unwilling to cover costs because it has lost out financially since its first race in 2010. 

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