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SOCHI, April 29. /TASS/. Russia’s Black Sea resort city of Sochi experiences a lot of changes over the recent years and the ongoing developments are positive in their nature, Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone told TASS on Friday.
"It is not my third time here in Sochi, I have been here many times before and it is my third time in Sochi for the [Russia Grand Prix] race," Ecclestone said in an interview with TASS when asked about his visits to the southern Russian city.
"It looks to me from the past that a lot of things are happening in Sochi for the better," the 85-year-old Formula One supremo said. "Real positive things [happen] and here I have got no complaints about the race."
Visiting Sochi in early 2014 during the Winter Olympic Games, Ecclestone commented at that time that the city’s infrastructure and sports facilities built for the Games looked great lit up in the night time. Therefore, he proposed as a possibility holding the Russia GP in Sochi at nighttime.
This year Russia is holding its FIA Formula One racing Grand Prix for the first time in spring, namely on April 29 - May 1, as compared with the two previous races held in autumn of 2014 and 2015 in Sochi.
The contract to include Russia in the calendar of F1 racing for the 2014-2020 period was signed in 2010 in Sochi by Ecclestone and then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
In late 2014, Sochi Autodrom was awarded the trophy of Formula One’s best racing track of the year. The Race Promoters' Trophy is a rotating award, engraved with the names of other top F1 tracks dating from 1975.
In the year of 2014, 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 data from organizers.
Live television coverage of the race in2014, provided by Russia’s Rossiya-2 channel, gathered over 3.4 million people across Russia, three times as many compared with the figure of Russian viewers watching other F1 Grand Prix races on average.