Ecclestone excited after sealing Russian Grand Prix deal
Formula 1 will have another new race in 2014 after Bernie Ecclestone finally secured a deal to stage a Russian Grand Prix in Sochi.
The seven-year contract was signed by Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin after two previous failed attempts to bring F1 to the European nation.
Putin said: “Finally, after decades of negotiation we have come to an agreement to make it happen.”
Moscow and St Petersburg had been the favoured options for the Russian race, and a deal was almost secured in 2002 with Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov before financial issues ended any hope of it being finalised.
In 2014 Sochi will host the 22nd Winter Olympics and with money already being ploughed into local infrastructure, the potential high costs of hosting a grand prix are reduced significantly, as new transport networks and hotels will already have been built.
The track will be built close to the Olympic Park and will cost a reported £125 million but Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Kozak warns that the first race could be delayed until 2015 if the logistics of hosting the Olympics and the inaugural grand prix become too difficult.
F1 supremo Ecclestone expressed his delight at having finally secured a deal.
“I sincerely hope Formula 1 is going to play a big part in what I can see happening in Sochi,” said Ecclestone.
“I’m sure the circuit can be a super circuit. It’s all the things we need and wanted, and we are very happy. They are trying to build absolutely first-class facilities both for the Olympics and Formula 1.”
Next year’s inaugural Indian Grand Prix will take the F1 calendar to 20 races. With the new US Grand Prix in Austin on the calendar for 2012 and rumours circulating over a possible new race in Rome, the Russian Grand Prix increases the likelihood that existing races could be dropped as the teams baulk at the prospect of up to 25 events per season.