Court threat to Indian Grand Prix this weekend

Petition alleges race organisers did not pay entertainment taxes due on last year’s event

Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel (centre) of Germany walks  the track at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida on the outskirts of Delhi. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel (centre) of Germany walks the track at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida on the outskirts of Delhi. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

Thu, Oct 24, 2013, 21:28

This weekend’s Indian Grand Prix has been cast into doubt after a petition seeking the cancellation of the race was reportedly lodged with India’s Supreme Court.

The petition, which will be heard on Friday, has been brought amid allegations that race organisers Jaypee Sports International Limited did not pay entertainment taxes due on last year’s event, the Times of India reports.

“We will hear the petition tomorrow,” Supreme Court Chief Justice P Sathasivam said in quotes reported by the newspaper.

Campaigner Amit Kumar, who in 2011 successfully argued in court that the Indian GP should be regarded as a form of entertainment and not sport and therefore should not be granted tax exemptions, is reported to be behind this latest petition.

However, the Times of India quoted a Jaypee Sports International spokesman who said the organisation is “ready to follow” whatever ruling the court hands down.

This latest row over the Indian Grand Prix comes at a difficult time for the event, which has been omitted from the 2014 calendar and has no concrete guarantees to make a return in 2015.

The 2014 race was shelved due to Bernie Ecclestone’s desire to have the event much earlier in the season.