DUBAI // Indian organisers of the i1 Superseries last night confirmed the beleaguered inaugural season has officially been cancelled following a series of unplanned schedule changes.
Darshan M, the chief executive of Machdar Motorsports, the organisers of the series, told the Press Trust of India that the five-race calendar, which included rounds in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, has been postponed until next year because of schedule conflicts with many of the drivers.
Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 Formula One world champion, and 2011 F1 drivers Karun Chandhok and Vitantonio Liuzzi, had previously been confirmed, while the Dubai-based Indian driver Zaamin Jaffer was expected to be involved.
"Dates of a bulk of drivers were conflicting with other international events," Darshan said. "Also most of the team owners felt that they were not ready. So we thought we should not do it this year, but hold it around the same time next year."
Although nine franchises were made available and Indian celebrities such as Shah Rukh Khan and Sachin Tendulkar were strongly linked with them, it is understood only four teams were finalised.
"We are currently engaged in discussions with a few more parties and would add a few more teams before the event takes place next year," Darshan said, adding that he is hopeful three more franchise owners will be announced in April.
The series was originally set to start in January in Malaysia, but that changed last month with Doha becoming host of the first race and Kuala Lumpur's Sepang circuit being removed. The championship was also scheduled to visit Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Dubai before finishing at New Delhi's Buddh International Circuit.
No one was available for comment last night from either Yas Marina Circuit or Dubai Autodrome.