Some of the riders and team officials bound for the inaugural MotoGP round in India, including six-time champion Marc Marquez, are awaiting their visas ahead of the race this weekend. Sources in Repsol Honda Team confirmed to PTI that the arrival of its riders Marquez and Joan Mir in India has been delayed due to visa issues. Both the Spanish drivers were scheduled to attend a promotional event near Delhi on Wednesday but now that visit stands cancelled.
“The riders are yet to reach India due to visa issues. So there was no option but to cancel tomorrow’s event,” a source told PTI.
Dorna Sports are the organisers and rights holders of the event. Fairstreet Sports are the local promoters of the event.
Sources in Fairstreet told PTI that around 1800 visas needed to be applied for personnel in the paddock but a technical glitch in the application system caused the delay. However, sources said, as of Tuesday, most of the visas have been issued barring a few lacking proper documentation.
“The visa were applied on September 5 but due to a technical glitch on the part of the travel agency, the delay happened. 600 visa applications were pending till yesterday, now most of them have been cleared including the visa of Marquez.
“Few individuals who have not filled up the form properly are left. You can’t do anything about that as one has to follow law of the land. Majority of the team officials and riders are already here,” said a source.
India is hosting an event of this magnitude for the first time since the now defunct Formula 1 Indian Grand Prix. The race was dropped from the calendar following the 2013 season due to financial, taxation and bureaucratic issues.
Dorna and Fairstreet have signed a seven-year MoU for the race in India but the event’s future hugely depends on how this weekend unfolds.
Later in the day, the promoters have also officially said that they are hopeful of sorting out the matter at the earliest.
“We have been updated about the current issue of delays in the visa issuance process. We would like to share that we have been working relentlessly to resolve the same in the best possible manner. Close to 500 visas have been cleared and a large number will be done shortly,” read a statement issued by the promoters.
“The dedicated teams are doing everything possible to ensure every rider, team, technical officials visa are issued at the earliest. This incident was unexpected and we are doing whatever is required to address the same immediately.
“We are confident that all pending visas will be processed and all race personnel required for the race would reach India timely and safely,” the statement added.
The race promoters have also thanked all the concerned authorities involved for their support and cooperation.
“We understand the importance of a seamless experience for all participants and attendees and encourage everyone to be patient and cooperate with us and the teams. We are immensely grateful to the Indian Government, MEA, MHA and the UP Government for their continued support and coordination.” Earlier this year, India hosted its first FIA World Championship status in 10 years when the Formula E race was held in Hyderabad. It is unlikely that the championships will return next year after not finding a place on the provisional calendar for 2024.
Formula E was not pleased with how the local organisers left the preparations to the very last minute.
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