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Sochi looking at becoming a night race?

NEWS STORY
24/08/2015

Despite persistent speculation that the event is in trouble - after just one year - Bernie Ecclestone insists the Russian Grand Prix is secure (unlike Monza!) and could even become another night race.

In June, the promoter of the event, Omega, which is owned by the Krasnodar Krai region, issued a statement in response to claims in the Russian media that Formula Sochi was bankrupt.

As speculation continued, some sources claiming the local government would not provide funding, acting governor Veniamin Kondratiev told Motorsport.com: "There is an agreement with the Minister of Finances that we will get a loan from the State budget.

However, he then added: "Speaking about the loan, if there will be one… Formula 1 will take place. If there is no loan… no Formula 1."

Promoter, Sergey Vorobyev meanwhile insisted there was nothing to worry about.

"I'm not responsible for commenting on this," he said. "Our target is to cover operational costs with income we will get from the race itself, not including (FOM) payments. I'm sure, that the target of operational break-even of the event will be achieved.

"I am sure that the Russian GP will take place in Sochi in 2015 and in upcoming years," he added. "All preparation works for the race is going ahead and nothing has changed."

Speaking to reporters at Spa at the weekend, Ecclestone suggested the event is safe. "You can book your tickets for the next 10 years," he told reporters.

Asked about talk of a night race, he admitted: "We've talked about it. Maybe in 2017."

Talking separately in the Spa paddock, Alexander Saurin, vice-governor of the Krasnodar region, and Vorobyev, agreed that extending the current contract is under discussion.

"Bearing in mind the significantly growing popularity of Formula One in Russia, we are considering extension of the contract," said Saurin, according to Reuters.

Asked about talk of a night race, he said: "We are assessing the idea from a commercial perspective and now we are calculating the cost of that. But we are working towards having a night race some time in the future. Not earlier than 2017."

The inaugural event, as is the case this year, was held late in the year however, in 2016 the race moves to May, the move coming at the organiser's request.

Despite the speculation surrounding the future of the race, Saurin says interest in F1 in Russia is growing, stirred by the ongoing success of Daniil Kvyat.

"Even last year he was attracting a huge interest," he said. "Having a local hero is transforming also the event for the people for whom Formula One is a new sport. We expect and are finding ways to have even more people this year. The second place for Daniil in the previous race (Hungary) has helped greatly. We have seen a huge rise in ticket sales right after that."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Ro, 24/08/2015 21:08

"To be quite honest, I hope the lights will be switched off completely, because I will be turning the TV off. I will DEFINITELY not be watching it. Bring back decent tracks, like Imola, Hockenheim or Nurburgring, not make-beleive flat, boring tracks."

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Paul RB, 24/08/2015 13:02

"We have the ludicrous notion that F1 seeks to demonstrate ever more "Green" credentials (an absurdity in itself) and then we add yet another night race, consuming millions of "squigawatts" of unnecessarily generated energy. All in the name of spectacle, of course!"

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3. Posted by stackvideo, 24/08/2015 12:05

"Good idea, they can turn the lights off so we don't have to suffer another procession"

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