Russian GP chiefs insist race under no threat

Russian Grand Prix chiefs have no doubt the future of their Formula 1 race is secure, despite media speculation claiming that the event could be under threat.

Reports that emerged this week suggested comments from local government officials had indicated that the Sochi race could be cancelled if the local government did not deliver much-needed backing.

But those suggestions have been dismissed by the Russian GP's race promoter Sergey Vorobyev, who said the situation was unchanged.

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

Race loan

The race does require its FOM rights fee being paid by the local Krasnodar Krai region. This was agreed as part of the original Russian GP deal signed with Bernie Ecclestone. 

The money, which will take the form of a loan, is believed to be as high as 65 million Euros.

Acting governor Veniamin Kondratiev told local media last week that the payment was necessary for securing the event.

"There is an agreement with the Minister of Finances that we will get a loan from the State budget,” he said. “Speaking about the loan, if there will be one – Formula 1 will take place. If there is no [loan] – no Formula 1".

Write off

Although his final comment has been interpreted by some as a suggestion the race could be under threat, the situation is actually no different to before.

Sources have told Motorsport.com that the loan will definitely go ahead – and furthermore that the finance will be duly written off.

As part of the original deal signed between FOM and race promoter OMEGA, which is owned by Krasnodar Krai, the payments are assured.

Furthermore, the finance was guaranteed by Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Operational budget

Vorobyev did not want to elaborate on the specifics of the loan.

“I'm not responsible for commenting on this,” he said.

However, he confirmed that it was the circuit's duty to cover the operational costs of the event beyond any fee due to FOM.

“Our target is to cover operational costs with income we will get from the race itself, not including [FOM] payments,” he said. “I'm sure, that the target of operational break-even of the event will be achieved.”

Interview and additional reporting by Oleg Karpov

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Russian GP
Track Sochi Autodrom
Article type Breaking news
Tags russian gp, sochi