Indian court to rule on whether Sunday’s race should be cancelled

2013 Indian Grand Prix

Start, Buddh International CircuitIndia’s Supreme Court will deliberate tomorrow whether Sunday’s grand prix at the Buddh International Circuit should go ahead.

Campaigner Amit Kumar has brought a petition before the court claiming the race should not go ahead, arguing the organisers have not paid tax owed on last year’s race.

Kumar previously succeeded in blocking the F1 race from receiving tax-exempt status from the Uttar Pradesh government.

Race organisers Jaypee Sports told the BBC: “Whatever the court says, we are ready to follow.”

The Indian Grand Prix has already lost its place on the 2014 F1 calendar and the political disputes surrounding the race have cast doubt on whether it will return in 2015.

If Sunday’s race were cancelled and not replaced, there would be insufficient points available in the remaining three races for Sebastian Vettel to be beaten to the drivers’ championship or for Red Bull to be stopped from winning the constructors’ championship.

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123 comments on Indian court to rule on whether Sunday’s race should be cancelled

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  1. MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 24th October 2013, 12:18

    Wow, I wonder if this is just posturing to make Bernie pay up, or if the race really is in danger of being cancelled

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 24th October 2013, 12:19

      @mazdachris Given the timing it certainly has the feel of a stunt.

      Famous last words…

      • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 24th October 2013, 12:30

        @keithcollantine
        That’s my feeling, but certainly the court would have the power to shut down the event if it wanted to. India don’t believe that F1 is a sport, and I think generally take the attitude that F1 should feel priveliged (rightly so) to be able to put on the show in their country, so I doubt they’re going to bend over to make any concessions to let it go ahead if it does turn out that a significant amount of tax is owed. And it certainly wouldn’t be out of character for FOM to try and withold monies while they believe they have a chance of getting away with not paying it. So while it does seem incredible, you’d have to say it is at lease feasible.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 24th October 2013, 13:24

          I am not completely sure that I understand the issue being before the court @mazdachris, @keithcollantine.

          But If I get it right, then the activist is claiming that now that they are ruled to have not had a right to a tax exemption last year, and that tax was never payed (because at the time everyone was counting on that tax exemption), that court decision is what makes for a sum of unpayed taxes?

          Surely there is a timetable bound to that court decision to backpay taxes for last year? For this year its no issue, as taxes have already been levied (and ticket sales went down to about 20000).

          • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 24th October 2013, 13:33

            @bacsb
            You’d have thought so, right? But who knows. The legal system in every country is subtly different and full of its own intricacies. I doubt the issue is a serious one. As Vicky Chandhok points out, it’s a simple part of the Indian democratic process that people can bring ‘people vs’ style cases to the supreme court and have the case heard, even if the case itself us ultimately insubstantial. Everyone gets their day in court, it seems. So in all likelihood there’s no real legal imperitive, and this is simply the work of a group of people who happen to dislike F1 (Alonso fans?) and want to try to sabotage the thing if they can. Happens all the time, apparently, and the supreme court don’t tend to want to interfere with events being staged.

            I’m certainly keeping my diary clear for Sunday at this point..

          • Marc Saunders said on 24th October 2013, 15:35

            I believe the court let the F!-Circus come in India and then did this move to get some “blackmail” money. They know next year the F1 will not be in India any more. Besides, if thei did it a month ago, the FIA could have decided not to race in Buddh and take the race elsewhere. But now they are all in and not to race will cost a huge amount of money.

        • generally take the attitude that F1 should feel priveliged (rightly so) to be able to put on the show in their country,

          HAHAHAHAHAHA!

          Yeah right. That’s why there’s no race in 2014 and F1 won’t return to India – b/c India is not sufficiently reverential towards F1, nor appreciative of the opportunity afforded the country.

          Next!

      • Marciare_o_Marcire (@marciare-o-marcire) said on 24th October 2013, 22:13

        You might be right… but for your sake I hope your hat does’t taste too bad…

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 24th October 2013, 12:39

      @mazdachris – Tax has always been an issue for the race. The government tried to classify Formula 1 as entertainment rather than a sport shortly before the first race. If they had been successful, they would have been able to lay claim to a cut of the teams’ earnings from the television rights.

      • Chuckl said on 24th October 2013, 23:17

        That lawsuit, which asked that F1 be classified as “entertainment” rather than “sport”, so that the race would be subject to a different tax obligation, was successful, and F1 is – at this time – designated as entertainment. That’s the crux of the current issue. That suit was brought by the same guy who’s involved now, Amit Kumar.

    • SeaHorse (@seahorse) said on 24th October 2013, 13:11

      Neither one, @mazdachris! It’s simply politics and attention seeking.

    • Joshua Mesh (@joshua-mesh) said on 24th October 2013, 14:09

      Why would Bernie pay anything? Is his company based in India?

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 24th October 2013, 16:30

      Regardless, it seems that they really don’t want to hold world-class events in their country.

      • Robbie said on 24th October 2013, 18:01

        Hmmm…not sure if this is a valid point or not, but if India cancels the race will they not risk a massive lawsuit from F1 for breaking a contract? I’m sure F1 could and would sue for far more than the taxes that are owed.

        • @matt90
          Blaming a country because some attention seeker filed a law suit is little too extreme to say the least..

          I’m sure F1 could and would sue for far more than the taxes that are owed.

          I am not so sure about that though.. where exactly will they file the law suit?

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 24th October 2013, 20:31

            You’re right. Unfortunately, it might be the way that some (important) people see it. That they’re considering or are removing the tax exemption already doesn’t bode well for relations.

        • GTurner38 said on 24th October 2013, 22:58

          If the court cancels the race due to FOM not paying taxes, I don’t see how FOM could sue. They would have no action against the government of India, which would be the organization responsible for the cancellation. They could try to sue the promoter, but the promoter would have had no choice in the matter. In fact, the promoter could sue FOM since it would be FOM’s actions that led to the breach of contract after the promoter paid the sanctioning fee and incurred the costs of preparing for the race.

    • TMF (@tmf42) said on 24th October 2013, 18:30

      I think it’s just India being India. It’s a great country with great people. But they are terrible at organizing – if you wanna get something done there, it usually ends in a bureaucratic nightmare full of corruption.

  2. LifeW12 (@lifew12) said on 24th October 2013, 12:20

    What an abomination of an event this is. Its probably not even worthy of being called an “event”. More like a political turmoil. Its a pity that the track will be going to waste, its been well thought out. Maybe if they could find a way to transport the track to Yas Marina everything would be good. Sadly not though.

  3. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 24th October 2013, 12:21

    Wow!, has this ever happened before? @keithcollantine

    • LifeW12 (@lifew12) said on 24th October 2013, 12:23

      To some extent, yes. The South African GP in 1985 was always under threat from the apartheid mess. It did go ahead, with 1/3 of the grid missing. A real sad way to farewell the old Kyalami.

  4. Malik (@malik) said on 24th October 2013, 12:23

    Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat ?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 24th October 2013, 12:24

    India’s Supreme Court will deliberate tomorrow whether Sunday’s grand prix at the Buddh International Circuit should go ahead.

    Surely it’s too late now though? No?
    I mean, what would they do for Sunday if they’ve done qually and everything, and then come Sunday morning only find out that the race is cancelled?

  6. Girts (@girts) said on 24th October 2013, 12:25

    ‘Vettel clinches title in India’s Supreme Court’? That would be the saddest title decider ever.

  7. andae23 (@andae23) said on 24th October 2013, 12:27

    If Sunday’s race were cancelled and not replaced, there would be insufficient points available in the remaining three races for Sebastian Vettel to be beaten to the drivers’ championship or for Red Bull to be stopped from winning the constructors’ championship.

    Please not another championship settled in court…

  8. Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 24th October 2013, 12:28

    What is a “campaigner”? Just someone opposed to F1? Or someone from the government trying to raise more taxes?

    And why only now and not half a year ago? After all, the 2012 race was 12 months ago so there should have been ample time to collect the taxes (or stop the 2013 GP) beforehand.

    • Malik (@malik) said on 24th October 2013, 12:29

      Well said!

      • Nimba (@nimba) said on 24th October 2013, 13:01

        This is just a political stunt to make Jaypee groups a bit tense… coz ..If you remember, Jaypee had their affiliations with Kumari Mayawati, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh state from the BSP party ( She was the one handing out the trophy to Vettel in 2011) and ever since she lost the state elections and the opposing party SP came into power, they are making the Jaypee group pay for their links with the BSP.

        • lalit said on 25th October 2013, 2:43

          But you forgot about Suresh Kalmadi – he plundered our Commonwealth games money,brought so much of shame & his son invested the money in the circuit. I’m an F1 fan ,but for the reason above I can never respect the circuit & their hardships. You can ask those Europeans – it’s always country first.

    • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 24th October 2013, 12:37

      Maybe because they wanted to drive home a point that F1 needs to pay its taxes? What better way to stick it to the sport than getting the event cacelled when it’s just about to go ahead?

      Plus there may well be much more to this that we don’t know. Presumably FOM (I assume, since they’re the promoters) will have known for a long time that tax is owed since F1 was legally ruled not to be a sport, and so the feeling may be that they’ve had ample time to pay up and now it’s time for them to suffer the consequences.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 24th October 2013, 12:41

        @mazdachris – The petition says the organisers have not paid taxes. The sport itself is fine.

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 24th October 2013, 22:07

        @mazdachris, the track owners are the “promoters” and they will be the ones left holding the can. Usually Bernie cuts such a tough deal that only a government can be the promoter or has to partner the promoter. I actually have a great deal of sympathy for the Goverments position, why should FOM make loads a money without contributing a share, I don’t imagine tickets to a GP are tax exempt in other democracies.

        • mudit said on 25th October 2013, 3:16

          Yup, I have been working at BIC past 15 days, wat a waste of money it is, here racing is not important, everything nice n shiney, sponsors and their interests, money and hospitality has taken away the sporting essence, last thing they think about is oh we have a race too, FOM is a gray organization, in the name of sport they are running entertainment business and all the money remains inside F1 bubble itself nothing to the local government and they deceive as if it is sport, I am still a racing fan but 15 days of work at Buddh international circuit has changed my perception of wat F1 is about in today’s time, I’m happy it’s not coming back to India, taxpayers money gets flushed in police and army arrangements, and wat does FOM gives back, zero. I’d still love to watch F1 on tv though :( feels sad

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 24th October 2013, 12:57

      @mike-dee – Why now? Because the eyes of the world are on the circuit now. The petitioners are probably hoping the organisers will see paying up as a preferable alternative to bring embarrassed in front of the world. It’s blackmail within the letter of the law.

    • SeaHorse (@seahorse) said on 24th October 2013, 13:06

      @mike-dee I doubt there is genuine interest in the litigation. I would wonder if the Indian GP really gets canceled just because the taxes were not paid, as claimed. Because, the organizers could argue that they could generate more revenue if they are allowed to proceed with the race and could pay the due taxes, if there is.

      PS: There are many more people/organizations lurking around in India who file such suits especially a few days prior to an event or a ceremony just to grab media & people’s attention.

    • Marc Saunders said on 24th October 2013, 15:45

      Because now they can oblige Ecclestone to put some money (blackmail) or loose all the investment done in bringing the F1 to India. If they had said it long ago, the F1 would have gone elsewhere. There are many countries interested in organizing an F1 race.

  9. Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 24th October 2013, 12:42

    India, Incredible India!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qd22ESWXeY4
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incredible_India

    Would be really good marketing for the country to get a GP cancelled a day or two before the race…

  10. sandy (@sandy) said on 24th October 2013, 12:43

    Nothing to worry about. The pace at which the SC functions in our country, it will be months before the dispute is settled. They probably will allow the race to go ahead and ask the Jaypee Group to furnish a bond.

  11. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 24th October 2013, 12:51

    Could the Indian courts not rule that the entire season be finished and we can all forget about this year and look forward to 2014 instead?

  12. KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 24th October 2013, 12:56

    Doesn’t the event start at the start of FP1 tomorrow? They’re unable to rule the race cancelled unless they cancel the whole weekend (Save for any unforseen circumstances like weather, security problems etc.)

    They’d have to make and publish their decision quite early on if that’s the case, or am I missing something?

    • Marciare_o_Marcire (@marciare-o-marcire) said on 24th October 2013, 22:32

      They’re unable to rule the race cancelled unless they cancel the whole weekend

      or am I missing something?

      Yeah you’re missing the fact that they can cancel the race whenever they want, even if it’s after the start of FP1 or of the race itself. F1 is not some supra-national entity that local laws must bow to. If a local government says drivers must race in reverse gear while wearing chicken suits and singing a tune from a Rogers&Hammerstein musical of their choice, or not race at all, then drivers must do exactly that, or not race at all. If a local government cancels a race, it’s canceled pure and simple.

      • AdvancedIdeaMechanics said on 24th October 2013, 23:32

        That race format would have the virtue of being more interesting than much of this season. I’d love to see what kind of aero setup they’d use for the chicken suits.

      • Deb Luhi (@debeluhi) said on 25th October 2013, 1:55

        “drivers must race in reverse gear while wearing chicken suits and singing a tune …”
        On a second thought that may be a good idea and very entertaining. It would also require a great talent from the drivers. I would definitely like to see that.

  13. vjanik said on 24th October 2013, 12:59

    i will bet that the GP will go ahead. seriously is it possible to bet on this on sky bet or some other website?

    i’ve been winning a lot with Seb this year so this would be an interesting change.

  14. JCost (@jcost) said on 24th October 2013, 13:25

    Theory says that tax exempts should be issued in case of major social and/or economic benefits spilling over from a certain activity. What does F1 brings to India?

    1. Global exposure
    2. A week of major cash inflow (tourists, teams, media)

    But we must bear in mind that apart from tax exemptions, India has to pay a thick fee to FOM. Financially, if the inflows are bigger than outflows, it’s a good thing, otherwise it’s not correct but there must be social costs and gains that should be considered as well, I’m not a India specialist but after building a state of the art and pricey circuit to host the race I would not get rid of the most important event of the year…

    • phildick (@phildick) said on 24th October 2013, 13:54

      @jcost Well, I think the ‘exposure’ argument in case of F1’s traveling circus is highly overrated. Really, it’s not Olympics. I guess almost everyone heard of a country named India (and Indians ;), and track shots won’t give much idea on what’s to see in the region.

      On tax exempts – I can’t say for the Indian people in this case, but I believe those should be given in case when the economical impact is long-term. I don’t see that in F1 events, as most people really come just to see the race on one day in the year.

      And on getting rid of the event – if the event brings big losses, why the organizers should continue with running it? That’s pure economy. If you had a $10M, would you just give it away?

      P.S. I’m not sure, but I think it’s the organizers (or maybe the local authorities?) who pay the fee, and not the Indian government. I think that’s an important distinction and we should try to avoid the oversimplification of saying that the country pays the fee.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 24th October 2013, 19:22

      @jcost

      Financially, if the inflows are bigger than outflows, it’s a good thing, otherwise it’s not correct but there must be social costs and gains that should be considered as well, I’m not a India specialist but after building a state of the art and pricey circuit to host the race I would not get rid of the most important event of the year…

      Theoretically, you’re right. But this is India.

      Right now someone has filed that suit so they can prepare for a huge pay day (in the form of a bribe), and then use that money for bribes in the scam on his agenda.

      It’s not like the tax money is ever put to good use in this country, it just adds to to the bottomless piggy bank of corrupt politicians

      • JCost (@jcost) said on 24th October 2013, 21:23

        @todfod so that’s black-mailing? Oh my.

        For me it’s good-bye India and your beautiful motor park.

        • Todfod (@todfod) said on 25th October 2013, 6:48

          If they genuinely wanted to protest, they could have done it anytime over the past year… but instead they waited for the point of no return (race weekend) before saying they are going to abandon the race.

          They caught Bernie and the organisers at the exact point in time where they have no option but to pay

    • Deb Luhi (@debeluhi) said on 25th October 2013, 2:11

      Melbourne GP generates around AU$50 million loss, for each of the last few races, which is covered by the tax payers. There is always a debate about this before and after the race but in the end, taking into the account the amount of money spent by the city and the government on other forms of advertising, the contract is always extended. There were even attempts by Sidney to “steal” the race like Melbourne did to Adelaide.

  15. Mallesh Magdum (@malleshmagdum) said on 24th October 2013, 13:38

    Don’t take it seriously…the petitioner just wants publicity….thats is the reason he has petitioned against the race now….to be in the news. And the GP wont be cancelled….

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