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India to host F1 Grand Prix in 2010

India will host its first Formula One Grand Prix in 2010, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Suresh Kalmadi said on Monday

Formula One management had approved two sites on the outskirts of New Delhi to build a circuit and the IOA, the race promoters, had been authorised to make the final choice, he told a news conference.

Kalmadi said track architect Hermann Tilke had inspected the prospective sites earlier this month and reported back to Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone.

"I met Mr. Ecclestone in London last week and I'm happy to say he told me it is a good report and that they have selected two sites for the F1 track.

"He also handed over to me the two draft contracts, for race promotion of the Grand Prix of India in the F1 world championship and the circuit rights agreement.

"I'm happy to say the first race has been finalised for the year 2010," he added.

"We'll be signing the contract for 2010. The month is not finalised but it could be March, the first race, or after the Bahrain Grand Prix."

India, backed by a booming economy, has been keen to stage a Formula One race and the IOA announced in June they had received a letter from Formula One administration allowing them to bring the race as early as 2009.

India was asked to meet many tough conditions, including financial terms, before September 30 in an offer letter. Kalmadi said the deadline has now been extended.

"The contract will be for a minimum 10 years," he said.

"We have to work out how to utilise the track round the year."

Kalmadi rejected concerns the Formula One efforts could affect preparations for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. The IOA is already under fire over the slow progress of work for the Games.

The two sites chosen were in Sohna, near the industrial hub of Gurgaon to Delhi's south west, and Greater Noida, a fast developing area to the capital's east.

Kalmadi said the IOA would discuss with the Delhi government before tying up with business groups for building the track.

India, thanks to its booming economy, has been hoping to have its own Grand Prix since Narain Karthikeyan became the first from the country to become a Formula One driver in 2005.

Leading businessman Vijay Mallya this month made an 80 million euros ($110 million) offer for the Dutch-owned Spyker team along with the team's director of F1, Michiel Mol.

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