An Indian corporate tells Formula One management that he can build an F1 track in India if they want to add India to their race calendar. F1 says "Why not!" and schedules the F1 Indian GP for end-October. So this Indian corporate (JPSI) goes about building an F1 track without any support from the Indian government (unlike other new F1 tracks built recently).
(Sometime around 22nd August 2011)
JPSI: We have finally bagged Airtel as our title sponsor and we are now selling tickets. The cheapest one is for Rs. 2.5k and the costliest is Rs. 35k.
Indian F1 fan: LOL! Good one!
JPSI: No no, I'm serious! Rs. 35k is for the main grandstand while for Rs. 2.5k you get access to the picnic stand.
Indian F1 fan: Rs. 2.5k for sitting on the grass with no shade. And if I am from outside Delhi, add to it the cost of travelling to Greater Noida and back and staying there for three days. Sounds like I'm blowing one month's pay-cheque on this.
JPSI: Don't be silly. The tickets will be sold out in 7-10 days.
JPSI: But Formula 1 is a sport!
Sports Ministry: Looks like an entertainment event to me.
JPSI: But you have recognised motorsports as a sport.
Sports Ministry: So?
JPSI: So F1 is the pinnacle of motorsports. It is like saying cricket is a sport but the cricket world cup is an entertainment event.
Sports Ministry: How dare you bring cricket into this! Now you will pay an import duty when the F1 equipment reaches India and you will be refunded the duty back when it is exported out after the race.
JPSI: Ok Ok... So, you will just keep my money for some time and return it later.. I can live with that...
Sports Ministry: Not the whole thing. We keep 2% of the duty for the effort.
JPSI: Thats fine. I'm screwing the fans on the ticket prices anyway. Since the entire equipment is worth Rs. 150Cr, I can pay 2% of it from the ticket sales.
Sports Ministry: Only Rs. 150Cr for 24 F1 cars + their spares + the entire pit garages with equipment + entire race control equipment?
JPSI: (surprised at the Ministry's knowledge of sports) Sir, you scratch my back and I scratch yours.. Wink, Wink!
Sports Ministry: Hmm.. We'll see about that...
(Around 19th October, less than 15 days to go)
JPSI: Good News! The media blackout of the track ends today. Today we take all media personnel on a lap of the track.
Media: The track looks good. What about the stands? Will they be done on time?
JPSI: Yes. We still have some work left on the stands. Hopefully, it will be done on time. Doesn't matter if it isn't, who cares for those suckers anyway!
Media: How are the ticket sales going?
JPSI: We are very positive. We have sold 70% of the tickets already.
Media: Ticket sales have been open since almost two months and you have sold only 70% of the tickets! Of the 18 stands, only two of the stands look fully booked. Will we see a full house on the Inaugural F1 Indian GP which is less than 15 days away?
JPSI: Oh! That reminds me. We now have a special offer. If anyone wants tickets only to the Sunday race, we are offering grandstand tickets at Rs. 15k (from Rs. 35k for all three days), normal stand tickets for Rs. 4k (from Rs. 12.5k) and picnic stand tickets for Rs. 3k (from Rs. 6k). Please quote me on this, "We had kept aside these tickets expecting extra demand".
Indian F1 fan: Yeah right! You want us to believe that you are dropping prices because there is extra demand.
JPSI: Whatever the reasons, cheaper tickets are now available. How about coming to the race?
Indian F1 fan: What is the point now? The trains are booked, airlines have jacked up their prices and don't even get me started with the hotel rates. All the best for the GP, I will be watching it at home.
(Around 21st October)
Indian Public: How could JPSI get tax exemption reserved for sporting events when the Sports ministry itself doesn't consider F1 a sport? I am going to the Supreme Court..
JPSI: Oh crap.. No No, please don't go there... Let us settle it amongst ourselves.
Indian Public: Sorry, I have already filed a PIL. See you in court!
Supreme Court: JPSI, we will not stop you from conducting the event...
JPSI: Thank you sir. Thank you! Thank you!
Supreme Court: ... But, you will have to keep 25% of your ticket sales as a deposit with us till we give our decision on the taxation issue.
JPSI: WHAT!!! (and collapses on the floor)
Disclaimer: I am not against the organizers. I appreciate their courage to bring F1 to India and build a track here without official government backing. But, they really got the ticket prices wrong. It seems to me that there is a high chance that the Inaugural F1 Indian GP will not be a full-house. Unless they pack the stands with school kids. (Did I hear someone say CWG?)