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Sochi racing track must be actively used after Russia GP — F1 official

October 09, 2014, 16:41 UTC+3 SOCHI
The experienced F1 manager, who was behind the construction of the track for the Abu Dhabi GP in the United Arab Emirates, said he was pleasantly surprised with what he saw in Sochi
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© ITAR-TASS/Valery Sharifulin

SOCHI, October 9. /TASS/. Richard Cregan, one of the most experienced Formula One managers and a consultant of Russia Grand Prix, said on Thursday that the southern resort city of Sochi should be actively used as a venue for major racing sports events after the upcoming F1 GP weekend this week.

“We have to think very clearly about what we are going to do,” Cregan said. “This is a huge step for us in terms of attracting international series. Because of the location and the climate we are looking at five or six major events per year on the track in Russia.”

“I think there is great strategy in the plan and I think that [Sochi] is probably one of the few places in the world," in terms of conditions for racing, Cregan added.

The experienced F1 manager, who was behind the construction of the track for the Abu Dhabi GP in the United Arab Emirates, said he was pleasantly surprised with what he saw in Sochi and the city would get more people coming from abroad in the coming years.

“When people leave on the Sunday night they want to come back. They discover that Sochi is available, Russia is available,” he said. “It is a relatively unknown area and country for most of us. And I think like myself and most of you were much surprised with what you have seen and how you have been greeted and so on.”

Cregan said the Russian resort city needed major sports events “in the sense of utilizing the assets done and put for the Olympics,” and work was being done at the moment to make new substantial plans.

In February and March, 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.

With only a day remaining before F1 pilots test for the first time ever Russia’s newly-built racing circuit, Cregan said everyone here in Sochi including officials from the International Automobile Association (FIA), racers, guests and organizers were extremely excited.

“We have been looking for this moment for quite a long time and now it has become a reality,” he said. “So it is a very exciting weekend.”

In December of 2013 the 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 of Russia Vladimir Putin and F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone.

Ecclestone, who arrived in Sochi on Wednesday night, said that Russian President 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 taken a bit longer than we thought,” Ecclestone told TASS on Thursday.

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