Manama: India will be on next year’s Formula One calendar, commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone told the sport’s governing body on Thursday.
India’s debut was cast into doubt last year when the country’s sports ministry rejected a request by promoters JPSK Sports to pay $36.5 million in foreign currency to Ecclestone’s British-based Formula One Administration (FOA).
The country is subject to strict exchange control regulations.
“Subject to final approval of the calendar by the world council ... Ecclestone has informed the FIA that India will host a Formula One event in 2011,” the International Automobile Federation said in a statement at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
India has a Formula One team with Force India, owned by aviation and liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya, and a driver in Karun Chandhok who makes his debut for the new HRT (Hispania) team on Sunday.
The FIA said Chandhok, whose team have not tested their car, had been granted the mandatory super licence on the basis of previous test mileage and participation in the GP2 series last year.
India could also host the annual FIA prizegiving and accompanying meetings at the end of next season, instead of traditional venue Monaco.
The governing body said FIA president Jean Todt had suggested the awards ceremony should be hosted by a different country each year and Mallya had asked the world council to consider India as a potential host in 2011.
“This offer was warmly welcomed by the world council,” it added. “However the FIA president confirmed the opportunity to host the event must be open to all the FIA’s membership throughout the world,” said the statement.