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No threat to Russian GP says Todt

NEWS STORY
13/05/2014

Despite media reports to the contrary, FIA President Jean Todt has said the inaugural Russian Grand Prix will go ahead as planned in October.

The event, due to be held at the Sochi International Street Circuit, was said to be in doubt following the escalation of events in the Crimea.

However, speaking to reporters in Barcelona at the weekend, Todt said that as far as he is concerned the race will go ahead stating that there is "nothing that should change the running of the calendar".

Meanwhile, promoter Sergey Vorobyev, who attended the Spanish round of the world championship, told Reuters. "I have no doubts the race will go ahead. We have construction being done at a good pace, we have the operational and sporting preparations also being done very extensively. There is no doubt from any point of view that the race will happen."

Aleksey Sheian, minister for strategic development and investments in the Krasnodar region in which Sochi is located, who was also at the Circuit de Catalunya, was adamant there is no threat to the race.

It's "not even on the agenda, no way", he told Reuters when asked if the event might yet be cancelled.

"We have entered a very active phase in the construction," he added. "We are doing the final interior works on the team buildings, pit building and main grandstand. We are preparing for laying the final layer of asphalt which will be done quite soon. We are confident that in August we will have the circuit completed."

Meanwhile, team bosses are eager the race goes ahead.

"I personally just hope that we can go there because the Russian market is quite important for us," said Toro Rosso's Franz Tost at the weekend. "I hope that we will have this race. Until October there is a long time and I hope they can sort out all the troubles that they have currently.

"Of course the political situation affects our negotiations with companies in Russia," he added, "because no one knows exactly which way it goes and I just hope that it will end up in a positive way and we will go to Sochi because that's very, very important and then I'm convinced within a short term period of time that everything comes back to normality.

"I think there were certain criticisms that came to the teams and the organisation going to Bahrain," added Force India's Robert Fernley, "but we were clearly in line and in accordance with British Government guidelines. I think unless the British Government advise otherwise and then from that obviously the FIA and FOM, then we are obliged to go, we are contracted to go."

Chris Balfe

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