Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel could clinch his fourth consecutive world title this weekend without even turning a wheel as an on-going tax dispute threatens the cancellation of the Indian Grand Prix.
The race is in jeopardy after the Indian Supreme Court agreed to hear a petition on Friday to call it off because organizers have allegedly not paid entertainment taxes for last year’s event.
According to The Daily Mail:
Prior to the inaugural race at the Buddh International Circuit in 2011 campaigner Amit Kumar successfully argued that Formula One was entertainment and not sport, and should not benefit from tax exemptions granted by the state of Uttar Pradesh, South of New Delhi, where the circuit is situated.
Kumar is also behind the petition seeking the cancellation Sunday’s race. A spokesman for circuit owner Jaypee Sports International Limited admitted they would have to abide by the court’s decision.
‘We will wait for the court’s directive this time around as well. Whatever the court says, we are ready to follow,’ said Askari Zaidi.
If there is no race, Vettel would be crowned world champion as he already holds a 90 point advantage over nearest challenger, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
No Indian Grand Prix, it has already been booted off next year’s calendar, means Alonso could only score a maximum of 75 points with a trio of wins from the remaining three races in Abu Dhabi, the USA and Brazil.
Nicky Chandhok, head of the Indian motorsport federation, claimed such cases were commonplace in his home country and expressed confidence the race would go ahead.
‘You do find the odd persons going out to try to stop sporting events – be it cricket or whatever,’ Chandhok told AUTOSPORT.
‘It has happened before and it is nothing new to this country. We are the world’s largest democracy and filing a public interest litigation [PIL] in any court is possible.
‘However, the courts by themselves are just a system, and the judges do not take kindly to a sporting event being stopped, especially on the eve of the event.
‘I personally don’t think it will affect the event at all. The event will go through as scheduled. They will let the litigation be heard as normal court but you cannot hold an event to ransom. That is not my worry at all.’