In recent times, motorsport enthusiasts in India have been buzzing with excitement, and for good reason. The tantalizing prospect of Formula 1’s return to the country has sparked discussions and revived memories of the roaring engines and high-speed thrills at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC). While it may sound like a long-lost dream, recent developments indicate that this dream might just turn into reality sooner than expected.
In 2023, India witnessed a significant milestone in the world of motorsport with the introduction of the MotoGP Bharat event at the iconic Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh. The race marked a historic moment as Marco Bezzecchi emerged victorious, making him the first-ever MotoGP race winner in India. The event showcased the prowess of Japanese bikes and left enthusiasts craving for more high-octane action.
The success of MotoGP in India is undeniable. It received widespread publicity, with prominent personalities like Sadhguru, John Abraham, Suresh Raina, and others gracing the occasion. This level of attention and support highlights the significant growth of India’s auto sector since 2013, proving that the nation is now a far more substantial market for motorsport events.
To understand the potential return of Formula 1 to India, we need to rewind the clock a bit. The F1 Indian Grand Prix was a part of the FIA Formula One World Championship calendar for three consecutive years – 2011, 2012, and 2013. However, a hiatus followed, and the return in 2015 was thwarted due to tax disputes between the FIA and the Uttar Pradesh government.
Former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s government argued that F1 was an entertainment event, not a sporting one, leading to tax disputes and complications. This situation ultimately led to the cancellation of the event and left the Buddh International Circuit in disuse. Fast forward to today, and the landscape seems to be evolving. The F1 fan base in India is growing steadily, thanks to documentaries, OTT shows, and the motorsport’s increased social media presence. Seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton’s comments about feeling “conflicted” during the Indian Grand Prix race in 2011 stirred a conversation about the allocation of resources.
Now, in a time where Formula 1’s global appeal is surging, discussions about its return to India have resurfaced. Senior officials at the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) have revealed that talks are underway to reintroduce F1 at the Buddh International Circuit in 2025. The CEO of YEIDA, Arun Vir Singh, has confirmed these efforts, expressing hope for annual events featuring both MotoGP and Formula One.
While the MotoGP calendar for 2024 includes the Grand Prix of India, we must acknowledge that 2025 might seem optimistic for Formula 1’s return. However, the successful execution of MotoGP events in the coming years could play a pivotal role in persuading Formula 1 and the World Motor Sport Council to reconsider India’s inclusion in their future plans.
The tantalizing prospect of Formula 1’s return to the Buddh International Circuit is indeed thrilling. The recent success of MotoGP in India, coupled with the growing F1 fan base and the evolving motorsport landscape, offers a glimmer of hope for motorsport enthusiasts across the nation. While 2025 might be a tad optimistic in our estimation, the fact that discussions are in progress is a promising sign for the future of high-speed racing in India.