GREATER NOIDA, India — The man behind the Indian Grand Prix is confident the race will return to Buddh International Circuit in 2015 after next season’s layoff, as well as an end to damaging tax issues.
Sameer Gaur, chief executive of the race’s promoter Jaypee Group, told The Associated Press on Saturday he has been in positive talks with F1 officials over the past few days, saying "there is no reason why the race should not be held here in 2015."
The Indian leg of the Formula One circuit is missing from the 2014 calendar due to scheduling difficulties. The race is expected to be held in March-April in 2015 and 2016.
High taxes in India are a concern for F1 officials and team owners, putting the future of the event in jeopardy.
The Indian government levies tax of a one-19th share of all revenue Formula One receives from the race for being one of 19 races on the circuit, while the government of the state of Uttar Pradesh claims $4 million as entertainment tax on local organizers which is usually applied to major extravagant entertainment shows.
Gaur said his company’s officials are working on lessening the tax burden in coming years.
"Sorting out the tax issue is of a high priority to us," he said. "We, along with F1 officials, are in talks with the central government regarding the tax being levied on the event for being part of the Formula One circuit. We are confident of making progress very soon on this.
"As for the entertainment tax, it is a ‘pass through tax’ (on tickets sold), which we will reduce by pricing our tickets lower in future," he added.
A lot is riding on the Indian Grand Prix for the Jaypee Group after it invested $400-million on the race venue and is also developing a sports township around it as part of its real estate business.