India’s Supreme Court has agreed to hear a petition on Friday which seeks the cancellation of this weekend’s Indian Grand Prix over a tax dispute.
Campaigner Amit Kumar has accused the race’s promoters Jaypee Sports International (JPSI) of not paying all their taxes for the 2012 race.
Should the race get cancelled, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel would automatically become world champion for the fourth successive year as he currently holds a lead of 90 points over nearest rival Fernando Alonso and there would only be 75 available in the three remaining races.
However, Indian motorsports chief Vicky Chandhok said he was confident the race would take place at the Buddh International Circuit on Sunday.
“The race will go on,” said Chandhok, who heads the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI). “There’s absolutely no doubt about that.
“This has happened many times before. You’ve had people trying to stop cricket matches…our justice system is pretty strong that no sporting event should be stopped. It’s a civil matter, let it be heard in court as long as it takes and that’s it. No worries.”
Kumar had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in 2011 arguing Formula 1 was not sport but entertainment and should not be exempted from entertainment taxes.
JPSI spokesman Askari Zaidi: “A PIL was filed earlier also and whatever the court had asked to do, we did.
“The court had asked us to deposit a certain amount (of money), that was deposited. Now if somebody goes to court again, we’d do whatever the court tells us.”
The future of the Indian race, located just outside New Delhi, is uncertain. It has already been removed from the calendar for next season and there is scepticism that it will return in 2015 when it is scheduled for an earlier slot in the calendar.