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Formula E’s Indian ambitions hindered by tax concerns

Formula E chief executive Alejandro Agag has said India’s stringent tax regulations will prevent the electric car-racing series from staging a race in the country, despite identifying three potential host cities for an event.

Formula E has a strong Indian presence through the Mahindra Racing team, which has competed in the series since its inaugural 2014-15 season. However, Agag has stated that the same concerns that ultimately led Formula One to withdraw from India are also deterring his championship.

F1 staged three races between 2011 and 2013 at the newly-built Buddh International Circuit outside New Delhi, but exited the Indian market amid concerns over local tax regulations and rising event costs.

Agag told the Press Trust of India news agency: “Our main worry for India is the tax. We have been doing a lot of research on the race in India. We have seen that Formula One faced so many tax issues in India. It is very risky to race in India because of the tax authorities.

“They (the tax authorities) are very aggressive at the moment. They want to tax everything. So you don’t know where you stand. I think that is the reason Formula One did not continue in India. We would like to have complete tax safety and then look at going to India.”

Agag had targeted an Indian race before Formula E launched and has admitted that talks were held. He added: “We did explore venues. We would really love to race in India and we have three possibilities – Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai.

“We have seen areas that will be ideal for the street race. We have a great Indian partner in Mahindra and we have a broadcaster (in Sony Pictures Networks). The only thing we need is an assurance from the tax people.”