South Korean F1 Grand Prix In Danger Of Being Dropped From Calendar In 2014
The South Korean F1 Grand Prix "looks set to join India in F1 exile," as F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone trims the '14 calendar to a maximum of 20 races, according to GRAND PRIX. Austria, Russia and New Jersey "are to be added to the current 19-race schedule." The latter of those events, slated to be the second U.S. race on the '14 calendar "amid the Manhattan skyline, now appears unlikely." Mercedes Chair Niki Lauda said a few days ago that New Jersey "didn't happen this year because of a lack of money. As far as I know, it's already gone from the calendar" (GRAND PRIX, 7/30). The AFP reported South Korea "is seen as a logical move to be left off the list, as the Yeongam circuit south of Seoul has lost money since it first hosted Formula One in 2010, and local authorities are unwilling to cover losses." India "has struggled to find a widespread following." The Indian government, meanwhile, "is keen on taxing drivers during their time in the country as a proportion of their earnings rather than profit." Ecclestone is said to have agreed to pay a flat-rate sum for this year's race to meet government demands, but is seen as "unlikely to comply" in 2014 given the other candidates to host races (AFP, 7/30).
TAX ISSUES: The TIMES OF INDIA's Devadyuti Das reported "the issue of custom duty on import of F1 cars and equipment made the teams wary ahead of the race last year," and JPSI had to deposit close to Rs 600 crore "as duty for the equipment to pass through customs." Sources said, "The tax issues were a major concern for all the teams and these were communicated to Bernie. We are trying to approach the sports ministry through FMSCI President [Vicki] Chandhok to find a long-term solution" (TIMES OF INDIA, 7/30). IANS reported Ecclestone confirmed that the 2014 Indian Grand Prix "will have to be dropped." He said, "When we signed the five-year deal with Jaypee, we were keen on going to India in the first half and Jaypee wanted it to be in October. We gave in at that time, but now it looks we will have the race early 2015" (IANS, 7/30).