India will host a Formula One race in the future, the sport's boss Bernie Ecclestone has said.
F1 cars could soon be racing in India
"We will be having an F1 race in India, for sure. When and where it will be I cannot say," Ecclestone told Indian news magazine 'The Week' in an interview.
"India is moving forward very fast. After doing something in China, India is next," he said, adding that he was confident of attracting adequate sponsorship in the cricket-mad country.
China and Bahrain are due to host races for the first time next year. Japan and Malaysia are the other two Asian countries which are part of the championship.
Ecclestone said the southern city of Hyderabad, an emerging technology centre, was a front-runner to host an eventual race in India.
He added that F1's governing body, the FIA, was in touch with authorities in the regional government.
Ecclestone added that he planned to
visit India in the near future to inspect facilities.
India has had Formula One ambitions for some time with FIA president Max Mosley inspecting the country's only race track near Madras in the south a decade ago.
Ecclestone has spoken recently about the likelihood of a Grand Prix in Turkey in 2005 and a possible return to Argentina, which last hosted F1 in 1998. He also hopes for a
Russian race in future.
Meanwhile, organisers of the Austrian Grand Prix say they are confident of retaining a place on the F1 calendar, despite Ecclestone terminating the race's contract for next season.
Ecclestone opted out of his contract with the A1-Ring because of the country's backing of EU legislation against tobacco advertising.
Hermann Schuetzenhoefer, head of sports for the province of Styria where the circuit lies, said it was a mere technicality and did not mean there would be no Austrian Grand Prix in 2004.
"I remain as ever convinced that the Formula One Grand Prix 2003 was not the last one in Styria," he said in a news release.