Igora Drive denies bid to replace Sochi as Russian GP venue
The new Igora Drive circuit near St. Petersburg has rubbished talk that it is hoping to lure the Russian Grand Prix away from Sochi.
Wild rumours over the Russian Grand Prix weekend suggested that Sochi could hold its last F1 race in 2020, prior to a potential switch to the new circuit near St. Petersburg a year later.
However, during a press conference at the Igora Drive track that will host the DTM next year, circuit bosses have made clear that F1 is not on its agenda – as it explained why it has gone for Grade 1 certification with the FIA.
"We haven't conducted any negotiations with Formula 1," said spokesman Vladimir Vasiliev. "The rumours remain just rumours.
"Yes, our track will be Grade 1-certified, but we are doing this not to host an F1 race. Rather it's to ensure that the status of the track attracts attention to it and emphasises the presence of a rich infrastructure.
"During the winter, the FIA management came to the track, and it was the federation's representatives who recommended that we apply for Grade 1. It is something we weren't planning to do initially."
The speculation about a change of Russian GP venue to St. Petersburg caught government officials by surprise too, with them all clear that Sochi was contracted to host the race until 2025 and would see out the deal.
Ilya Dzhus, spokesperson for deputy prime minister Dmitry Kozak, said: "The current contract to host Formula 1 presupposes that the Russian round of the world championship is held in Sochi, and runs until 2025.
"Rosgonki [the Russian GP promoter] has not discussed with the rights holders the possibility of moving the Russian round to another city."
Dmitry Peskov, press secretary for Vladimir Putin added: "This matter [of moving the Russian GP from Sochi] is not on the agenda."
The Igora Drive track has announced a five-year deal to hold DTM from 2020.
Photo by: Tilke GmbH
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