x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

The i1 Superseries lining up two visits to UAE

A new schedule obtained by The National has seen Kuala Lumpur replaced by a round in Dubai.

i1 Supercar Series cars are tested at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.
i1 Supercar Series cars are tested at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.

DUBAI // The confusion surrounding the inaugural i1 Superseries has taken a fresh twist with organisers confirming Kuala Lumpur's Sepang Circuit has been dropped from the calendar with plans now centred on replacing the Malaysian race with an event at Dubai Autodrome.

India's embryonic race series - which is to feature international drivers competing in one-make Radical sports cars - was initially due to start this week in Abu Dhabi, but the schedule has been subject to a series of alterations.

Yesterday, following reports that the season would be postponed by two months to avoid the series' pivotal Indian race clashing with state elections, the countdown clock on the championship's' official website was reset once more.

The new calendar has not been released by series organisers, but Mahesh Reddy, operations manager for the championship, confirmed Dubai Autodrome had been approached to replace Sepang. Reddy added there are still "issues" to be worked out with all the host venues and the FIA, world motorsports' governing body.

A revised calendar obtained by The National has Malaysia dropped from the plan and Qatar's Losail International Circuit in Doha hosting the opening race on February 11. The series then heads to Bahrain two weeks later, before the Emirates host back-to-back races at Yas Marina and Dubai Autodrome in March. The season ends at the Buddh International Circuit in New Delhi on April 1.

A spokesperson for Dubai Autodrome said that while March 16 and 17 had been requested by i1 organisers, no agreement had yet been reached. Officials at Yas Marina are still waiting to hear from i1 officials on the latest plans.

The original concept was for the series to run during the motorsport off-season, but the new calendar would see the Dubai race coincide with the Formula One Australian Grand Prix. Karun Chandhok, the Indian F1 driver, who appeared at the launch event in Abu Dhabi last month, is one of the most high-profile drivers involved, yet is hoping to be in Melbourne for the start of the new F1 season.