Legal threat jeopardises Indian Grand Prix

 
Frank Dalleres
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AN Grand Prix organisers are confident this weekend’s potential world championship decider will go ahead despite a tax row plunging the race into doubt just hours before the first practice session.

The country’s supreme court yesterday agreed to hear a petition today arguing that the Formula One race should be called off because organisers owe tax from previous events. They deny the claims.

It came as teams prepared to begin practice in New Delhi today ahead of Sunday’s race, which is expected to see Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel clinch his fourth consecutive drivers’ championship.

“I personally don’t think it will affect the event at all,” said the head of India’s motorsport federation, Vicky Chandhok. “The event will go through as scheduled. They will let the litigation be heard as normal in court but you cannot hold an event to ransom. That is not my worry at all.”

The legal challenge has been brought by activist Amit Kumar and relates to a 2011 judgment that the race be classified as entertainment rather than sport.

That ruling, also from India’s supreme court and following a campaign by Kumar, saw a quarter of ticket revenue frozen until a tax dispute was settled.

The Indian Grand Prix already faces an uncertain future. It is not part of next season’s calendar and considered unlikely to return in 2015.

TITLE PERMUTATIONS

Indian Grand Prix
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel will win his fourth successive world championship if he finishes fifth or higher on Sunday

Vettel has won the race on both previous occasions and his closest rival, Ferrari’s two-time champion Fernando Alonso, trails the German by 90 points with only 100 still available