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Organizers of Formula 1 race in Russia’s Sochi say ready to host two Grands Prix this year

Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport magazine reported earlier that the racing track in in the Russian resort city of Sochi was viewed as a possible candidate for hosting two races this year

MOSCOW, June 4. /TASS, Andrey Kartashov/. Organizers of the Formula One Russia Grand Prix are ready to host two races this year after the calendar of the 2020 FIA F1 World Championship had been amended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the press service of the Russian race organizing committee Rosgonki announced to TASS on Thursday.

Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport respected magazine reported earlier in the day that the racing track in in the Russian resort city of Sochi was viewed as a possible candidate for hosting two races this year.

"Rosgonki will be able to provide for the organization of two Formula One Grands Prix if it is necessary," the press service told TASS. "A number of opportunities are being currently discussed jointly with Formula 1 and one of these opportunities may be implemented within the racing weekend in Sochi."

The 2020 FIA F1 Russia Grand Prix, which is organized since 2014 in the country’s resort city of Sochi, was initially slated for this year’s September 25-27 weekend.

The F1 press service stated on June 2 that the International Automobile Federation (FIA) approved a calendar of eight Grands Prix to start the 2020 Formula One World Championship, which was postponed earlier in the year due to the global spread of the novel coronavirus.

The list of eight approved Grands Prix include the racing weekends in Austria on July 3-5 and July 10-12; in Hungary on July 17-19; in the UK on July 31-August 2 and on August 7-9; in Spain on August 14-16; in Belgium on August 28-30 and in Italy on September 4-6.

This year’s FIA F1 World Championship was intended to be the first in the history of Formula One to run in 22 Grands Prix around the globe, opening with the race in Australia on March 15 and closing with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The championship was set to see a debut of the Grand Prix in Vietnam’s Hanoi and the return of the Dutch Grand Prix, which had been absent from the race calendar since 1985.

Organizers of the Dutch GP race announced their decision last week to cancel the race this year, opting to hold it in 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic forced earlier in the year to cancel the legendary Monaco GP, as well as the Grands Prix in Australia and France.

The previously scheduled races in Bahrain, Vietnam, China, Spain, Azerbaijan and Canada were postponed indefinitely earlier in the year. The following Grand Prix after the cancelled race in France was scheduled to be held in Austria on July 3-5.

F1 Russia GP in Sochi

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 has already successfully hosted six 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. In early 2017, 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.

COVID-19

In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.

On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 6,635,200 people have been infected worldwide and more than 389,600 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 3,201,500 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.

To date, a total of 441,108 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 204,623 patients having recovered from the disease. Russia’s latest data indicates 5,384 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.