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Question marks over 2014 F1 calendar as India and Russia face problems
Posted By: James Allen  |  02 Aug 2013   |  8:22 am GMT  |  62 comments

As F1 heads into its summer break there are quite a few question marks hanging over the calendar for next year – especially races in two vital emerging markets – after F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said that the Indian Grand Prix would “probably not” happen next season, while the Russian Automobile Federation has missed the deadline to formally lodge the race at the new Sochi venue on the calendar.

Sochi has been given a provisional date of October 19, but a dispute between the RAF and the promoter in Sochi has led to the missed deadline. According to a statement by the RAF, “The application to the FIA for submitting the Russian Grand Prix to the 2014 Formula 1 calendar was not sent in proper time as JSC Omega (Promoter) didn’t fulfil the necessary conditions.

“That is: (the promoter) didn’t sign a contract with the Russian Grand Prix organiser, didn’t sign a deal for an application submission and also didn’t pay a fee to the FIA for including an event on the FIA F1 calendar.

“RAF informs that it is ready to include the Russian Grand Prix on to the FIA calendar under force-majeure conditions, permissible by the FIA, as soon as the promoter fulfils all the necessary formalities.”

It is likely that this will be sorted out and it may not be the last wobble before the event takes place.

Ironically Russia had been earmarked for the late October slot currently occupied by India, which has been asked to move its race to earlier in the year. Both races are in important emerging markets for F1, which is able to tick the box of all four BRIC countries, regarded in recent years as powerhouse growth areas for business. The others are China and Brazil.

Earlier this week Bernie Ecclestone said that India would probably not happen in 2014, as it cannot cope with two races close together (end of 2013 and start of 2014) but would reappear in early 2015. There is more to the problems in India than just the logistical issue of them hosting races soon after each other.

The event has proved a nightmare for teams and FOM due to the incredibly complex red tape involved in going there, especially with respect to tax laws. Teams have to fill out endless complicated forms to ensure that they do not end up paying tax in India on their earnings abroad.

But last month, the race’s promoter Jaypee Sports International issued a statement reiterating their commitment to hosting a race.

“Our agreement with Formula One Management is to hold F1 races at Buddh International Circuit (BIC) till 2015 and we are fully committed to do that,” said Jaypee spokesman Askari Zaidi in that statement. “There is no reason for us to give up hosting F1 races.”

Sauber’s Indian-born principal Monisha Kaltenborn said: “It would be a pity if for these (tax) reasons we don’t go there. India is an important market for partners who are already in Formula 1 or who could get into Formula 1 because of that market so it really would be a pity if we would not manage to sort out these problems.”

The event, which has a contract to host a race until 2015, drew positive reviews after its debut in 2011 with a third race scheduled to take place at the end of October this year.

The teams are keen to keep the calendar at a maximum of 20 races per year, but there are a potential 22 races on the table for 2014.

In addition to this year’s 19 races, Russia is set to join – pending resolution of its current issue – while a second race in the United States in New Jersey is also planned, although there is doubt in F1 circles whether this will happen, after it missed its initial date. 

And earlier this month, Red Bull announced it has struck a deal to bring Formula 1 back to the A1 Ring in Austria from next season until 2020, although there are some local planning issues to be resolved before the event is rubber stamped.

The season looks set to start in early March in Australia, despite some suggestions it might open in Bahrain, while pre season testing in warm weather in Dubai looks to be on the cards.

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If the Russian race does not happen, do you think that the “new” money for Sauber will still appear or is it like most most Russian money promised is just hot air , you can only count on it when its in your bank account . I have seen a few deals just disappear, and the promised cash fails to turn up.


This can only be good news for the Australian GP. While the local government is losing some interest in the race, it’s reluctance to go to a night race for Euro audiences has really put it on the nose with FOM/Bernie.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Australian GP is gone after 2015.

So two other races falling over, or failing to materialise is good as it’ll probably keep the Oz GP going for a little longer to fill out the 20 races


What worries me the most is the lack of direction based on the things that make F1 good. We get random subpar tracks (and i dont mean subpar in the “hey look we dont have a fancy new pitlane” kinda way) that are boring for either the viewers or the drivers, usually both, we have very few teams left in the sport, quite possibly to be only 8 or 9 within the next couple years, and soon we’re getting the leaf-blower sounding engine downgrade because the management thought it would be nice for f1 to get “go green” stickers.

F1 is in a bad state not as marketable product but in a bad state from within that needs fixing to remain a such marketable product. They need to have a deep good look in the mirror and fix everything, because they wont be able to milk for long when there’s nothing left to milk (i dont suppose bernie cares much for that, he wont be with us by the time that happens so why should he). Don’t sell venues to random shaykhs, GET GOOD SOLID tracks back on the calendar. Random rant I know, but the tracks are a big part of it so i had to it somewhere at least relevant 😛 45yr old F1 purist, sorry in advance for any of my views which don’t align perfectly with the new F1 hipster movent


Ohh and yeah, all said and done. India won the FIA race promoters of the year award at the gala 2 years in a row right beating the Austin organizers too :P? Correct me if I am wrong. That itself is more than what I bargained for.


Being an Indian, I never ever thought that India would ever host an F1 GP and they’ve hosted 2. 3 by the end of this year. So yeah, I am happy and glad that the earlier Street Circuit plan was dropped. The country needs a Grade A Track and it has it now. Future? Maybe V8 Supercars or the WEC Moto GP? Maiden race of the SBK World Championship in November coming too. Thanks to all this, the race-tracks in Chennai are recieving funds for an upgrade. I am happy with the changes so far 🙂 I refuse to comment on politics and taxes and other boring stuff.

Scuderia McLaren

Oh noooooo, the Indian GP will be dropped next year. Whatever shall we do? How will we survive without that farce of a race.


According to the Wikipedia 2014 F1 page Japan does not have a race with the 2013 page saying this year is the last year of their contract. Obviously this is from Wikipedia, but is there any truth in this?


I wouldn’t worry over Japan. With Honda back in the sport, I would be surprised to see the Honda owned Suzuka track disappearing off the radar.


If the cash is right Monza will be dropped for a new Herman Tilke designed Afghanistan International Race circuit. Any logistical difficulties will be ironed out later.


I sure hope not. Monza is a great track. It has huge history. The long straights make things interesting because of the engine stress and the required low down force setups. All the Tilkedromes seem the same. At least the old tracks have unique character. Not that BE cares…


The worst thing Hokenheim did was change it’s track layout. It went from a daunting track that HAD to be on the calendar because of it’s huge history to just another revamped modern whatever.

If you don’t have the money to host an F1 race, history counts for a lot. Hopefully tracks like Monza and Silverstone will remain because of this reason. Hokenheim lost its soul in the new layout so no one cares anymore.


F-1 would be better off if Bernie goes to the slammer for about 20 years, CVC goes bankrupt and the revenues from F-1 flow to the teams, circuit promoters and to reduced ticket costs to fans.

No more bogus races in bogus countries that don’t care, financial stability for legacy circuits like Spa, Monza, Silverstone, etc.

I am not holding my breath…


Bernie’s legacy began to surface to its true

worth,Turkey,India,the middle east F1 are

depended on the price of Oil,US economy has

been stagnate for to long,the state of New Jersey is in dire strights economicaly and

one have to addmit the prospect of F1 being

held there is very remote in the short term,

as for Russia? they will be there Putin sign

the contract himself,


So They are thinking of Staging a Race in India in March 2015…well good luck!!

1)Lot of Academics exams end in March right from School to Graduation,(can’t afford a holiday)

2)Indian Financial Year ends in March,(no holiday!)

3)Summer Sets in March, so 35C and 80%Humidity awaits you….

All these factors are going to make this event commercially very difficult. I hope I’m wrong and be glad if proven so!!


The cricket World Cup, an event of far greater scale, was held during the exact same period in 2011.


Haha, yes, and ask the visiting teams how much they enjoyed that..


You can’t compare Cricket and F1….

Cricket is like a religion, its a cricket crazy country whereas F1, its just started 2 yrs back.


Didn’t stop them, despite repeated warnings from the locals, staging a race in Malaysia that exactly coincided with the daily tropical downpour.

Guess they have to learn it the hard way.


It hasn’t stopped the public from going to Malaysia. All the grandstands are covered as well as parts of the general admission.

The race was stopped n 2009 and interrupted in 2012.

Besides that, the racing there has been great, and the attendance has been on the up for a couple of years.


After the wholly avoidable 2009 stoppage – they changed the time in subsequent years to avoid the downpour – just like the locals had been saying all along.

The point is that they wouldn’t listen to the locals, they had to find out the hard way.


From personal experience India is a godawful place to do business.

Scuderia McLaren

Try Greece!


In F1 we spend so much time just waiting, between the races (and then the lengthy off-season period, even school teachers don’t have as many ‘holidays’).

We need a bit more back to back racing weekends, so I’m fully in support of a 22 races season.

Teams will still have enough time to rest.


The problem is that between each GP the teams are working flat-out developing the cars. But since the teams are working anyway, they may as well go to more GPs instead of tinkering away in the factories. Still end up working just as hard but at least it’s to the audiences benefit. In fact isnt there a limit on the number of staff that can attend a race? This could be a form of cost-cutting as shrewd as it would be..


I’d love a 25 race season. Bring back Jerez and Imola, a French circuit, and maybe an alternating European GP between several circuits (such as Mugello, etc.), or perhaps have a permanent race in Qatar (not just testing).



Yes Imola is stunning, I agree with Jerez and Mugello, lets add Brno, Istanbul and Estoril too


If the race in Noida indeed moves to the March-April timeline, I welcome everybody to the sweltering hot Delhi :D. In one way(financially), it is a wise move. But in terms of temperature and torrential rain, it is not a great time to enjoy a GP.


Great, another date for a race that almost guarantees the TV audience sits arround waiting for a monsoon downpour to end.

Good work F1, clearly the Malaysian race date/timeslot has taught you nothing.


On the grand scheme of things with teams not wanting to do more than 20 races, does that fit in quite well then (is this all planned).

If you take India off of the 2013 calander you have 18 races, then you add Port Imperial and Red Bull Ring and then you have 20 races again.



I always told that I will beliene in F1 in Russia only when I see it…guess, I will have to wait a bit longer)

Actually, that’s not even a surprise for me. Here, in Russia, the level of corruption is so high and intricate on each and every level that it is a miracle the construction even got started.

I won’t be at all surprised if tomorrow heads of JSC Omega and\or RAF are jailed for some “newly uncovered” crimes… each will be blaming another.. and finally the track is demolished because “it was built with severe violation” and a new one 1 billion dollar project started.

And please don’t laugh, probability of such scenario is very high.


James some of us are concerned at the power grab by Bernie (as if he didn’t have enough) over the media accreditation which is rumoured to be included in the new CA.
At present you and another two honourable FIA personnel sit and decide who should get passes.
It is understood that Bernie wants to control what is written about F1 and himself by ceasing the free press that we have now.
Can you please confirm this or more hopefully say it is not true. If we are to be limited to the BE approved press then we shall stop watching and reading and give up altogether.


Interesting question

It’s true that I was elected to the FIA Press Council along with four other F1 journos and two photographers

As I understood it, there will be no change to the admin of the written press and photographers and Internet

BE accredits the TV, radio journos like SKY and BBC personnel

I think rumours about him controlling them are exaggerated

I had an FOM pass for 12 years when I was with ITV and never had any problems, no matter what I said on air or wrote

I can only speak as I have found


James, in reply to your reply about penalties for passing by moving off the track, Hamilton overtook Rosberg in Bahrain last year moving totally off the track after Rosberg’s controversial move which he repeated on Alonso who did not get past.

Neither H or R were penalised but Alonso blew a gasket.

Guardian: “Hamilton did not slow down and succeeded in passing the equally aggressive Rosberg, even though he had to go beyond the edge of the track to do so, which is against the rules.

Rosberg and Hamilton were cleared by stewards afterwards”


It’s all very well organising these long-haul races, but I agree with Youngslinger – it can’t be cheap for the smaller teams.

This makes a mockery of “cost-cutting” in F1. Why not bring back some of the European grand prix and surely everyone will be happier? Shorter transit times, cheaper transport costs and fans get a chance to see a race without it costing them hundreds of pounds in air fare.

Oh, that’s right – Russia and India are “emerging markets,” or untapped cash supplies as I call them.


The signs for more European grands prix aren’t looking too good I am afraid.

Unless there’s another Dieter Mateschitz out there, ready to pour in millions to host a grand prix in his/her backyard, I don’t see this happening.

In the 2020s, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Russian, Indian, Chinese or Malaysian drivers lining up the grid. A driver from any of these countries that performs well is all it’s going to take to generate a massive interest in the sport.

I remember how it was in Spain back in the 90s (pre-Alonso), where the broadcaster even interrupted F1 after an hour or so to show the start of the MotoGP race! (It was on the same channel).

I would expect that only Monaco, Britain, Hungary and Italy remain on the calendar in the next decade. Be ready to wave good bye to the likes of Spain, Germany or Belgium. France is unlikely to come back and I’m not sure how long the Austrian deal is for.

F1 is now a global sport, and the best part in that is the travel associated with it.

What’s not to like about going to Japan, Singapore or Abu Dhabi. It can also be done on the cheap. Malaysia is a prime example of that.


The “Everyone will be happier” in your email needs to include sponsors, fans in the countries that you are no longer visiting, etc.


It is actually the bricS….South Africa being the S, for several years now.


Didn’t realise that the Indian Tax System is just as convoluted and wearying as the F1 Tyre System . . !


That’s not true; with the Indian tax system you have one compound with no options 😉


I don’t understand the issues with the New Jersey race. They missed the chance to host the event this year so surely all will be in place to host the inaugural event in 10 months or so ? How much more notice do they need ? They’ve been planning this race for 2-3 years now haven’t they?

I’m convinced Sochi will happen but I fear New Jersey may never and that would be a shame and a huge missed opportunity for F1 fans and NJ!


Why can’t India cope with two races 6 months apart?


Ticket sales mostly, from what I understand.

There was massive interest in the first grand prix, but last year, a lot of grandstand seats remained empty.

IF the organisers struggle to sell tickets over a 6-month period, chances are there will be even less people if the two events are just six months apart.

Australia and Brazil moved from the end of the calendar to the beginning quite successfully because F1 has a large fanbase in these countries. Malaysia wasn’t bothered either way because it is government funded.

India however, is a private initiative. Whilst the circuit is part of a massive real estate business, and I suspect a positive image of the event probably helps to make the other aspects of the business work.


Good question. And surely the paperwork just needs photocopying with the dates amended to suit? I’ll do it for all the teams if they pay for me to attend the race!


You have no idea about indian paperwork! Your “free” trip will require several hundred pages to begin with…


F1 event is still relatively new although the TV ratings would be going up year after year. Given that the ticket rates are on the higher side it will take some convincing for the fans to spend that kind of amount in 6 months time. They Can host the event, but if they host it in 6 months time then ticket sales wise it *might* turn out to be a disaster…


Bernie says it’s “political”, that means India is trying to tax all those who enter the country in connection with F1.

Also see my other reply above


I don’t think its related to not being able to host two races in 6 months period. Earlier Malaysia and Brazil have hosted two almost consecutive races.

What I feel is that FIA has given a sort of warning to Indian bureaucrats to iron out the hassles of red-tape and complexities involved in custom declarations, taxes and other things within a years period i.e. 2014; failing which there could be no F1 visits to India after that.

So its upto Indian government and policy makers to remove the hassles involved and streamline the complete entry/exit process of F1 circus to India.


Ticket sales, costs etc etc.

Early season start makes much more sense imo, put it after China and before Bahrain.

Really hope Korea doesn’t make it, terrible track in a country where no one even wants it.


It’s code for Bernie to say “we disagree with the Indian government targeting F1 for taxation purposes”.

Andrew Woodruff

+1 I’d like to know the answer to that as well. Sounds like a phoney excuse to me


To enter the F1 calendar you have to pay a fee, they probably don’t have enough money to pay it twice in such a short time.


Of course they could host two races 6 months apart. That has nothing to do with anything. The real reasons are political. This is just a warning shot to India to simplify procedures if they want F1 back.


I don’t get that, either. If you can do it every 12 months, why are 6 such a logistical issue?


There have been several stories of the horrendous levels of bureaucracy encountered by everybody who went to India.

Unfortunately instead of progressing into a modern system the Indian administration is stuck in the17th century. Vastly overstaffed hugely over complicated and with every step involving mountains of paperwork.

Whilst the track was good, the event was a nightmare of officialdom for the teams. The date has nothing to do with it being cancelled, it is just that nobody wants to go through all that unnecessary hassle again.

It remains to be seen if the Russian promoter actually pays up, but I am afraid the image of Russian business goes before it. Thus I would not be at all surprised if it never happens.


don’t blame India …much of the bureaucracy you see today was implemented by the British when they ruled India under the excuse of ‘The Empire’. A case of we’re in charge and no dear that’s not how we doe things lol…You talk of modernisation… Why should they modernise? Last time i checked the Western way of doing business wasn’t exactly that great…The Great Depression in the 1920s (ok that’s America) , then again in the 70s…then again 90s when Blair took over and finally more recently…perhaps having more bureuacracy will help slow things down a bit??

Yes many people complain..but then Western countries are no different. I was born in England and grew up here and believe me it’s no better over here.

Re the tax thing…I don’t see why teams should try and evade paying tax…I mean when Starbucks/Google etc do the same over here there’s a public’s in the media etc but suddenly when it happens in India it’s a differnt kettle of fish.


@ both Erik and Phil Parker, our conversation appears to have detracted from the main focus of this website – namely F1..parlty my fault I admit but as you have both expressed opinions I am more than happy to discuss my comments and the reasons for them of line with you both if you wish….

In the mean answer your comments

@ Phil Parker – I’m sure you can quite easily provide me with examples supporting your argument including your 4 months in India. I too can give you examples of personal experiences of bureaucracy and corruption right here in England. For example, just because you don’t see people greasing the palms of the local constabulary in England (now I’m not accusing the police in India of being susceptible to bribery) it does not mean that corruption does not exist in England. Just pick any local council and see how much red tape and bureaucracy is involved. That said I do accept your comment that there are many factors determining the reason why, as you say, India has not progressed as much as it could, citing the caste system as one of a few examples.

@ Erik I fully apologise if you feel I am being naive but my comment still stands…people say India MUST do this, MUST do that, MUST change like this etc…and yet all the while those that are commenting are in countries which to be honest fair no better. For example, are you really telling me the councils in England are less corrupt and bureaucratic that those in India? Really? Tried phoning your local council up for anything recently? Never had any problems trying to sort something out with your bank or utility provider? Of course you’re right everything works smoothly and there is no bureaucracy at all 😉 – That said I do appreciate that it has been a very long time since the Empire ended so I accept things should have / could have changed…but the fact of the matter is, it hasn’t and I’m merely saying that folks are talking like India is some sort of 3rd world backward country when to be honest this country that I call home is no different in some respects…no matter how much you try and disguise it.


A very naive perspective indeed. Dare I suggest that it’s exactly this sort of attitude that’s holding back India to begin with. Colonial Britains fault, really?.. step into the 21st Century mate.


Sorry, but that’s absolute twaddle. I’ve worked in India for four months last year, and the amount of bureaucracy and corruption bears no comparison with the UK or the west in general.

Although it may be true that the bureaucracies were originally created by the British. It’s been a long time since India gained independence. The reasons India has not progressed as much as it could are largely cultural – the caste system, the lack of a meritocracy, the corrupt political system, the inability of the society to create and enforce rules (the chaotic anything goes traffic system being a good example) etc etc

You don’t know what you are talking about if you suggest that India is just the same as the west, that there is no difference and that it’s (still!) Britains fault.


Have to agree re India, the administration is an absolute nightmare. I’m assisting some sporting franchises get registered for tax there and it’s taking absolute ages for something that should in theory be straightforward.

BTW, James, Brics is now five countries including South Africa.


With all these new ‘fly-away’ races, more income to FOM, will they (BE) give more to the poorer teams to help them with the added expenses incurred? Doubtful. So will one or more go the way of HRT, as BE has previously indicated would be best…..?


Niki Lauda has apparently been saying that New Jersey has funding issues and may not be ready. The 2014 calendar may as well be written in sand at the moment!


Seriously, Who Cares? Why does it matter so much where the races are held? All that matters to Bernie is how much money the circuit owner will pay. All it matters to the teams is which destination to send their gear to. All it matters to Pirelli is how sharp are the kerbs? There is nothing left in F1 but money and pr. No loyalty from drivers or engineers. No Dignity left in the team’s, its all moaning, arguing, telling tales.. and trying to artificially enhance the entertainment with stupid rules and regulations which are destroying the essence that made F1 great. Manhandling a beast of a car around a track for 2 hours, thats all thats needed.. kers…drs…wtf?

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