Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed the first Indian Grand Prix will take place in 2011 and not 2010 as was originally announced just over a year ago.
Building work on the track was scheduled to begin nine days ago. The site for the race track was surveyed by Hermann Tilke who has designed most new F1 tracks over the past decade (A1-Ring, Sepang, Bahrain, Shanghai, Istanbul, Valencia, Singapore) and done redesign work at other venues (Magny-Cours. Hockenheimring, Nurburgring). India is believed to have a ten-year contract.
However the race is being promoted by the Indian Olympic Association and there were concerns whether the Commonwealth Games being hosted in Delhi in 2010 might interfere with the hosting of a Grand Prix.
Force India F1 Team boss Vijay Mallya, who is involved in the organisation of the event, said earlier he was expecting the venue to be ready in time for 2010. He was understood to be hoping to install an Indian driver in one of his cars in time for the race – potentially GP2 racer Karun Chandhok.
South Korea has also claimed a place on the 2010 calendar but little is known about its plans as well.
The present economic turmoil will only make it harder for a new promoter to fund both the construction of an F1-class venue and the high prices demanded by Ecclestone.