Machdar Motorsports has announced that their ambitious i1 Super Series, is being pushed back by a whole year. The first race of the 2012 season was scheduled to take place at the Losail Circuit on February 11th, just ten days away, but an official announcement made on the 1st of February states the 'promoters, supported wholly by the team owners and partners, have jointly been forced to make this decision.'
So what's the official reason for the i1 no show? Well, Machdar Motorsport has stated that the electoral poll dates in Uttar Pradesh had resulted in the postponement of the race scheduled for the Buddh International Circuit. This then meant that repurcussions were felt on the rest of the calendar, resulting in other venues not being available on the desired dates, and some key drivers were also not available.
The team owners have also decided that motorsport is in 'nascent in the Indian market, it would be better if they spent more time in educating the fans, building the city level support before commencing the series.'
Darshan M, CEO, Machdar Motorsports said, 'It is unfortunate that we have had to postpone the i1 Supercar Series to next year but in the long term we feel this will benefit not only the series but motorsports in the country as well.' He also went on to say that they had '... taken this hard decision of postponing the series with the consent of all stakeholders involved in the series. They have extended their full support towards this decision as they realize that this has been taken with the league’s long term interests at heart.'
Meanwhile team owners, at least those quoted in the official press release seem relieved by the decision. 'This will give us time to plan our brand strategy, bring in partner sponsors and drum up excitement over the next few months for the Bangalore team. A series of this magnitude requires months of planning to get execution right the first time. We have now time to work on the details,' said Arjun Baljee, Managing Director, Peppermint Hotels chain and Bangalore team owner of i1 Supercar Series.
As for the drivers - well, Vitantonio Liuzzi believes the move has been made 'as an investment in the long term for the ultimate success of the series.' The Italian driver also went on to state that he will be available for the new calendar in 2013.
Perhaps a year's time will help the organisers of the series chart out a more clear plan of what the series is meant to be about. More importantly, we hope they'll give fans more incentive to watch the series. Sure, they have attempted luring the crowds in with Jean Alesi (pictured above) and other retired international drivers. But that's really not enough for an audience that watches Formula 1 and MotoGP. And given the trend of other short lived series like A1 and GP Masters, we're hoping for a clearer plan that will ensure the series longevity. Can they pull this off? Time will tell.