SOCHI, October 1. /TASS, Yevgeny Ionov/. Russia has progressed greatly in holding racing events and the 2018 Formula One Grand Prix in Sochi this past weekend was a success, F1 Managing Director Ross Brawn told TASS.
"It was [initially] a new adventure to come to Russia," Brawn said in an interview with TASS. "I think for Formula One we were quite sure what to expect, but we had a very close and great experience with our time in Russia."
The inaugural Formula One race in Sochi in 2014 and the next one in 2015 were held in October, but the following two Grand Prix races (in 2016 and 2017) were rescheduled to late April and early May timeframe. This year the race in Russia was rescheduled for September 28-30.
"It rather reminds me of the [2018 FIFA] World Cup, when a lot of fans were nervous about coming to Russia, but when they came here they had a great experience," the senior F1 official said.
"That has been our experience in Formula One. We have always met a very positive and cooperative organization."
"We have seen the increase in fans since we have been coming here and enthusiasm from the fans," Brawn said. "I see the organization and the interest in Formula One are progressing each year."
"Across the first year, when you come to a new country for a new circuit, there is a lot of novelty about the event," he continued. "But then you have to consolidate it in terms of a sustainable event for the future. It is very pleasing to see that the share and the revenues have gone up."
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak announced before the race on Saturday that the revenues from ticket sales for the Formula One Russian Grand Prix in Sochi soared by 72% against last year’s sales.
"We know from our research that the television numbers, the social media numbers - all of these things have substantially gone up," Ross Brawn added.
Sochi Autodrom track is the only racing circuit in Russia hosting a FIA Formula One Grand Prix. Located in the Olympic Park, which hosted the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, the 5,848-meter long racing circuit in the Black Sea coastal area successfully hosted four F1 Grand Prix races.
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 former Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone. Early last year, the contract to hold F1 racing in Russia’s Sochi was extended until 2025.
In late 2014, the 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.