Another hurdle has been mounted ahead of India’s troubled preparation for its inaugural Grand Prix. Amid talk that the new Buddh circuit is barely ready for this weekend’s race, the Indian supreme court last week ordered that a quarter of the proceeds of the ticket sales be withheld over a tax dispute.
But the latest dispute could cost organisers Jaypee crucial national media coverage, and worryingly the row is with the sport’s powerful Formula One Management (FOM).
The Hindustan Times reports that Indian television channels are threatening to boycott covering the event because of FOM’s restrictive access to the race feed.
Jaypee’s communications boss Askari Zaidi warned reporters that they must cover the race.
“When they signed their accreditation form, they agreed to the terms and conditions, so I expect them to cover the event,” he said.
He added that FOM is so restrictive when it comes to the television feed that even Jaypee, the promoter of the event and owner of the circuit, was denied access.
“We requested them to allow us to bring in cameras, but were refused. Even after we asked them to look into the matter, they refused, saying we could only buy a one minute feed of the race,” said Zaidi.
It has been a troubled build-up for the Indian race, but motor sport clubs of India president Vicky Chandhok insists the organisers will learn for the future.
“India has never hosted such a big event. It’s the largest ever,” he told the Times of India. “No IPL (cricket), no Commonwealth Games comes anywhere close to it.”