India Formula E race "very realistic" in season 7 - Mahindra
Mahindra Racing chief Dilbagh Gill says there is a “very realistic” chance of India hosting a Formula E race in the all-electric series’ seventh season, which will run from 2020-21.
Mahindra has been very keen on bringing Formula E to India and held a showrun at the Buddh International Circuit in 2016 to accelerate talks with the authorities.
However, an Indian E-Prix is yet to come to fruition, and doubts remain over whether it is possible to host a motor race of such a scale in India following Formula 1’s early exit from the country.
Formula E boss Alejandro Agag’s recently expressed his concern over the “aggressive” nature of India’s tax authorities and ruled out a race in the country unless he is assured his series will not be taxed in the same way as F1 was between 2011-13.
“Our main worry for India is the tax,” Agag told PTI. “We have been doing a lot of research on the race in India. We have seen that Formula 1 faced so many tax issues in India. It is very risky to race in India because of the tax authorities.
"They [tax authorities] are very aggressive at the moment. They want to tax everything. So you don't know where you stand. I think that is the reason Formula 1 did not continue in India. We would like to have complete tax safety and then look at going to India.”
Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra Racing
Photo by: M Saad
Gill, however, feels Agag’s comments wrongly gave the impression that Formula E was not interested in India any longer.
Instead, he says India remains very much on the radar of the series and the teams involved, and suggested that an Indian E-Prix could be on the cards in the next two-three years.
“I think Alejandro was grossly misquoted on that particular thing,” Gill told Motorsport.com. “He wrote me a message soon after that explaining that I was misquoted.
“We are very keen to have a race in India. Not we as Mahindra, but the whole championship. Because all the manufacturers have presence in India, India is a growing market for them. But at the same time we also have to look at technicalities of racing.
“Of course we have to find a local government [that supports the event]. We haven’t got that and then which city we can host a race.
“India has thing unique thing that depending upon month we can choose city and we cannot. For example if we are looking at the calendar and want to have a race between November and Feb-March, we can’t use Delhi.
“Then if you got June-July, you can’t do Mumbai - you got monsoon. So I think which part of the year will depend as well.”
He added: “I think for season 7 we have a very realistic chance.”