Bernie Ecclestone has now confirmed officially that a deal has been struck to bring formula one to the world’s second most populous country, India. It was reported earlier on Thursday that F1 chiefs had penned a contract with Indian company JP Associates to build a circuit just outside capital city New Delhi.

Ecclestone, 77, clarified that the contract is with JPSK Sports Private Ltd, a subsidiary of JP Associates, to stage the first Indian grand prix in 2010. “India has always been known for its love of cricket, but F1 has been growing hugely in popularity in recent years as the viewing figures would suggest,” Ecclestone said on Thursday.

“Now with Vijay Mallya’s team, Force India, and the news that Karun Chandhok could soon be driving in F1, the announcement of the future grand prix in India will spark an explosion of further interest to rival that of the traditional sport,” he added.

The local newspaper Hindustan Times also claims formula one bosses have signed a deal with a company to build a circuit just outside of New Delhi.

The company, JP Associates, is therefore now contracted to develop the site about 50km to the east of the capital for an inaugural Indian grand prix in 2010, a senior executive suggested.