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FIA senior official says F1 GP track in Russia’s Sochi to be licensed

August 20, 2014, 15:06 UTC+3 SOCHI

The Grand Prix in Russia’s Sochi is scheduled for October 12 as the 16th out of 19 F1 Grand Prix races this year

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© ITAR-TASS/Sergei Savostyanov

SOCHI, August 20. /ITAR-TASS/. With less than 60 days remaining before Russia’s first ever Formula Grand Prix in the resort city of Sochi, a senior official from the International Automobile Federation (FIA) said the racing track was ready to host the Grand Prix and the circuit would be licensed by FIA.

FIA Formula One Race Director Charlie Whiting is currently on a visit to Sochi heading the federation’s delegation, which arrived in the Black Sea city on Tuesday to inspect the track’s readiness to host Russia’s inaugural F1 race.

“The circuit in in extremely good condition and the circuit will receive a (FIA) license,” Charlie Whiting said, addressing the journalists following the inspection of the circuit.

In December, FIA officially announced the calendar of the 2014 Formula One races, and the Grand Prix in Russia’s Sochi was scheduled for October 12 as the 16th out of 19 F1 Grand Prix races this year.

“Everything has been done according to plan,” Whiting said. “The curbs are all good, the verges, the track itself, the barriers, the fences, the guard rails, the walls - everything is in extremely good condition.”

“Everything has been done to the highest standards, and I am extremely pleased,” FIA Formula One Race Director Whiting added.

In February and March, the Russian resort city of Sochi hosted the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, which, according to international sports officials, athletes and visitors, were organized at the highest level possible and provided up-to-date infrastructure at all levels.

The Russian Grand Prix will be held at the racing track located near the Olympic Village in the coastal area of Sochi. The contract to include Russia in the calendar of F1 racing for the 2014-2020 period was signed in 2010 in Sochi by then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

About three weeks after the contract was signed Putin, known for his avid support of sports development in Russia, gunned down a F1 bolide on a race track outside Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg.

In what can be called the ‘fastest president in the world', he reached a speed of 240 kmph (150 mph). His racing lap added to his previous motorized stunts, which included piloting fighter jets and strategic bombers, as well as riding Harley Davidson motorcycles with Russian bikers.

Putin and Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone met again in Sochi in the wake of the Winter Olympics, which ran between February 7 and 23. At that meeting, F1 supremo Ecclestone suggested that it would be interesting to hold Sochi GP in the night time.

“At night, the stadiums are very colourful with lots of lights and the backdrop to a race would be fantastic,” Britain’s The Times daily quoted Ecclestone as saying at that time.

In May, Sergei Vorobyov, the promoter in charge of the Sochi GP organization, said this year’s Grand Prix in Sochi would start on October 12 at 3pm local time (11am GMT), but in the future years the Sochi GP would turn into a night race, similar to Singapore and Abu-Dhabi GPs.

“The GP starts at 3pm, but one of the following races may be held at night,” he said. “We like this option and sooner or later we will implement it."

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