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Nighttime F1 GrandPrix in Sochi may be exciting, but races to continue daytime - promoter

A proposal to switch the Russian F1 Grand Prix in Sochi from traditional daytime to nighttime was first voiced in 2014 by Sergey Vorobyov, the former head of the Russian F1 racing promotion company Sochi AutoDrom
Promoter of the Russian Formula One GP Alexei Titov Rosgonki
Promoter of the Russian Formula One GP Alexei Titov
© Rosgonki

MOSCOW, August 26. /TASS, Andrey Kartashov/. An initiative of switching the FIA Formula One Russia Grand Prix in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi from daytime to nighttime ‘is an interesting idea,’ however the races in the daytime ‘still have the potential,’ Alexei Titov, a promoter of the Russian Formula One GP, told TASS on Wednesday.

"This is indeed a very interesting and extraordinary idea, because everyone knows how the Olympic Park is beautiful, when it is lit up in the nighttime," Titov, who serves as the promoter of the Russian Formula 1 round ANO Rosgonki, said in an interview with TASS.

"However, we still have time to evaluate how effective and economically feasible it will be, because the Grand Prix in the daytime offers numerous advantages and it still has the potential," Titov added.

A proposal to switch the Russian F1 Grand Prix in Sochi from traditional daytime to nighttime was first voiced in 2014 by Sergey Vorobyov, the former head of the Russian F1 racing promotion company Sochi AutoDrom. He suggested that in the future years the Sochi GP would turn into a night race, similar to Singapore and Abu-Dhabi GPs.

Similar idea was expressed by F1 ex-chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, when he first visited Sochi for the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2014 and said the city’s infrastructure and sports facilities built for the Games looked great lit up in the night time.

The Russian city of Sochi is hosting the Formula One Russia Grand Prix for the seventh time this year. The race is scheduled to be held on September 25-27. 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.

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.

However, the F1 racing calendar for this year had been readjusted due to the global spread of the novel coronavirus. 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 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. The list of eight approved Grands Prix included 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; in Italy on September 4-6; and in Russia’s Sochi on September 25-27.

On August 25, Formula One authorities presented an extended calendar of Grands Prix for this year’s prestigious auto racing championship stating that the list of the Grands Prix this season was upped to 17. According to the official statement of the Formula One racing series on Tuesday four more races were added for this year - namely one race in Turkey on November 13-15; two races in Bahrain (on November 27-29 and December 4-6) and one race in Abu Dhabi on December 11-13.

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.

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.