Organisers of next month’s inaugural Indian Grand Prix have finally confirmed fears that the race would be called off, when concerns raised that – of all things – a hefty tax bill applied to the teams would dissuade them from showing up.
Up until recently, the national government had refused to cede its demands that the grid’s twelve teams be slugged a hefty customs tax to import their freight, which lead Formula One Teams’ Association (FOTA) chairman Martin Whitmarsh to threaten that the F1 circus would boycott the event.
Thankfully, the race’s organisers Jaypee have stepped in overnight, revealing that they have secured an “in principal approval” for an exemption to the import duties, or that they will foot the bill themselves if the exemption is not granted.
“If required, as per the law of the land, [Jaypee] will pay customs duties and taxes,” a statement reads in the Press Trust of India.
Under Indian law, customs exemptions can be granted to sporting events of national significance – certainly a curious position given how much this coverage this event will give to the subcontinent.
The import bill is believed to be some $2 million.