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F1 supremo Ecclestone downplays Western pressure on Russia ahead of Sochi Grand Prix

October 09, 2014, 14:58 UTC+3 SOCHI

All earlier politically-based calls from the West to strip Russia of F1 GP were groundless, Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone says

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Bernie Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone

© Alexey Nikolsky/TASS

SOCHI, October 9. /TASS/. Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone said on Thursday that Russia did its utmost in preparations to stage the country’s first ever F1 Grand Prix in the southern resort city of Sochi in spite of all ongoing pressure on the country from the West.

“It’s really nice. What they have done is super job,” F1 supremo Ecclestone told TASS. “All the things that we asked have been carried out. So I’m very happy.”

With only a day left before the three-day weekend of the world’s most prestigious racing events Ecclestone, who arrived in Sochi on Wednesday night, said all earlier politically-based calls from the West to strip Russia of F1 GP were groundless and Russia’s recent political isolation would pass in the nearest future.

“That is something that will pass. I am sure. The Europeans and Americans are completely stupid trying to take on Russia. They are mad and they would never be at a win,” Ecclestone said.

Some of the Western politicians voiced calls earlier in the year to strip Russia of the right to host major sports events such as the upcoming F1 race in Sochi and the World Cup in 2018 as a form of penalty regarding Moscow’s stance on the developments in neighboring Ukraine.

Ecclestone also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had been “completely supportive” to make the F1 racing come to Russia as the F1 chief executive had been trying to make it happen since late 1970s.

“I was trying to do something in the early 80s or late 70s actually. It just took a bit longer than we thought,” Ecclestone said.

In December of 2013, the International Automobile Federation (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.

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 Putin and F1 chief Ecclestone.

About three weeks after the contract was signed Putin, known for his avid support for 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 kph (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 Ecclestone met again in Sochi in the wake of the Winter Olympics, which ran between February 7 and 23.

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