India to host F1 Grand Prix in 2010: IOA

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New Delhi, Sept 17: Indian Olympic Association (IOA) today announced that the country will host the Formula One Grand Prix in 2010 in the National Capital Territory (NCR).

IOA President Suresh Kalmadi told reporters here that F1 Management Chairman and CEO Bernie Ecclestone has approved two sites in the NCR -- Greater Noida and Sohna, near Gurgaon to lay the circuit and has asked IOA, the race promoters, to make the final choice between the two sites.

Formula One Chief Architect Hermann Tilke had recently inspected various race sites in the NCR proposed by IOA and had submitted a report to Bernie.

Kalmadi said Bernie had handed over two draft contracts to him and the IOA would sign them soon, though he refused to specify the time frame. He, however, said the deadline to sign the contracts has been extended from September 30 as has been fixed earlier.

''I had a long discussion with Bernie in London last week. He said he had recieved a good report from Tilke.

''Bernie handed over to me two contracts, a Race Promotion Contract for the Grand Prix of India to be a round of FIA Formula One World Championship and a Circuit Right Agreement,'' Kalmadi said at a press conference.

''We have been asked to negotiate and finalise any one of the two sites. We have also to decide on the exact month of the race in 2010. It may be held in March or after the Bahrain GP,'' he added.

''Getting the draft contract is the first step. We want the real work to start, we will get busy with it.

''We have ample time to sign the contract and there is no need to hurry. We have to discuss and negotiate with two very cooperative state governments,'' the IOA chief said.

''The next step is to finalise the race site, make payments to FIA and sign the contract and then Tilke will start on the master plan to lay the circuit on the chosen site.''Kalmadi said the contract period would be a minimum of seven yeats and could be extended to ten years. ''It is not an easy task to make it happen and but we are glad that we have the draft contracts with us now. It is a huge project, 45 aircraft will land for the race. We have to provide accomodation to around 5000 people in nearby hotels.

''We have also to ensure that we earn revenues from the race, besides to think over how to use the circuit not only during the ten days or so of the race but also in the remaining 355 days of the year,'' said Kalmadi, who also has a huge task at hand as Chairman of 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Organising Committee.

Kalmadi said the site at Sohna measures between 1200 and 1500 acres while the one at Greater Noida is around 1600 acres in area.

The IOA Chief refused to divulge the fee to be paid to FIA to acquire the right to host the Grand Prix in India and stonewalled quaestions on how much money the IOA and other stakeholders would pump in to build the circuit.

But, he said the cost of laying the circuit in NCR will be lesser than that in China or elsewhere.

''Labour is not costly here, raw materials are locally available and land is not marshy as compared to China. We have the cost advantage,'' he said.

Kalmadi also said he would welcome help from ''all stakeholders and those interested in the F1 in India.''

UNI

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