Ecclestone: ‘F1 will come to India in 2011’

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has told the BBC that India will host a Grand Prix race in 2011.

Delhi will apparently be the venue for India’s F1 debut, despite a top Indian driver casting doubt on whether Ecclestone’s ambition will become a reality.

Narain Karthikeyan, who has had a stint driving for Jordan on his CV, believes that the global credit crunch could put the brakes on the sport’s drive to enter the Indian market.

But he did acknowledge that: "It will also be much better for fans in India to get closer to the sport."

The Force India team now has a place on the starting grid at Grand Prix events, helping F1 to gain a foothold in a country where cricket is as big (and arguably bigger) than football is in Britain, baseball is in America and table tennis is in China.

Ecclestone acknowledged that it is unlikely that Indian school kids will be tearing down their posters of Sachin Tendulkar to replace them with posters of Lewis Hamilton.

But he will be aware that even if motor racing only becomes a minority sport in a land with such a growing population, it could prove very lucrative.

Written by James Christie

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