MOSCOW, January 16. /TASS/. This year’s Formula One Grand Prix Russia at the racing track in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi will be held again in the daytime on October 11, Sergey Vorobyov, the head of the Russian F1 racing promotion company Sochi AutoDrom, said on Friday.
“This year the Grand Prix kicks off at 14:00 local time,” Vorobyov said adding that it would be a one hour earlier comparing with the inaugural race last year.
“Many auto sport lovers already book plane tickets for the Russian GP and this is a good opportunity for them to make effective plans for the racing weekend,” Vorobyov said.
Last year Vorobyov suggested that in the future years the Sochi GP would turn into a night race, similar to Singapore and Abu-Dhabi GPs. The same idea was expressed by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, when he first visited Sochi for the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games last year, and said the city’s infrastructure and sports facilities built for the Games looked great lit up in the night time.
Over 166,000 people, including at least 500 high-ranking guests from Russia and abroad, visited Sochi between October 10 and 12 for Russia’s first ever Formula One Grand Prix.
According to Sochi AutoDrom, pilots of F1 teams gave over a thousand of autographs to their fans throughout the racing event. Two fan zones were set up on the territory of the Olympic Park, where Russia’s first ever in its history F1 racing track was built.
Live television coverage of the race in Sochi, provided by Russia’s Rossiya-2 channel, was watched by 3.4 million people across Russia and it was three times as many comparing with the figure of Russian viewers watching on the average other F1 Grand Prix races.
The winner of Russia’s Grand Prix in Sochi Lewis Hamilton said that Russia’s GP in the southern resort city of Sochi was the best ever F1 racing this year.
“It was a good day and amazing weekend,” Hamilton said on Sunday night. “Russia has been the favorite place for me this year.”
Last month Sochi Autodrom was awarded the trophy of the Formula One’s best racing track in the 2014 season. The decision to award Sochi the 2014 Race Promoters' Trophy was made at the annual FIA Gala ceremony on December 5, 2014 in Doha, Qatar, and the trophy was officially awarded to Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak by Ecclestone on December 19.
The Race Promoters' Trophy is a rotating award and engraved on it are the names of other F1 best racing tracks starting from 1975. The trophy will remain in Sochi throughout 2015 until the new best racing track will be announced at the end of the next season.
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 Ecclestone. 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 that year.
In its debut operational season, Sochi Autodrom, which has also recently been named ‘Motorsport Facility of the Year’, hosted a number of important international, national and regional events. Besides hosting the Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix, Sochi Autodrom will soon launch its Driving Academy that will contribute to the motorsport development in Krasnodar region and Russia.
The 2015 F1 season kicks off on with the Australian Grand Prix on March 15, while Russia’s Sochi GP is scheduled for October 11 as the 17th out of 21 GPs on the racing calendar.