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FIA F1 top management reshuffle unlikely to affect Russia’s Sochi GP — expert

US-based corporation Media Liberty announced it had closed a deal on the purchase of F1 and appointed 62-year-old Chase Carey to take helm of the world’s most prestigious auto racing competition

MOSCOW, January 24. /TASS/. A recent reshuffle in the top management of FIA Formula One racing will not affect the calendar of race stages around the globe, including in the Russian southern city of Sochi, Russia’s famous F1 manager and promoter Oxana Kosachenko told TASS on Tuesday.

US-based corporation Media Liberty announced on Monday it had closed a deal on the purchase of Formula One racing and appointed 62-year-old Chase Carey to take helm of the world’s most prestigious auto racing competition, often dubbed as the Royal Racing, in the capacity of Formula One executive director and general promoter. F1 Supremo Bernie Ecclestone, 86, was given the position of the Chairman Emeritus of Formula One Group.

"I know for sure that the new management of Formula One will not be revising the current contracts and no one will strip Russia of its Grand Prix (in Sochi). There is no threat whatsoever," Kosachenko said in an interview with TASS.

"Liberty Media has announced long ago its intention to change the policy of Formula One and this step (to replace Ecclestone with Carey) only proves its intentions," she said. "Formula One is definitely on the brink of serious changes."

"Ecclestone was at the helm of the Royal Racing for more than 40 years and changes are inevitable with his departure," Kosachenko said. "However, my stance is that Liberty Media is overestimating its abilities and will ask Ecclestone in the future to take charge of one of the Formula One segments - this is not Ecclestone’s final leave."

Liberty Media purchased 18.7% of F1 championship’s shares for $746 million in September 2016. The corporation also raised $1.5 billion from investors last December to carry through the deal and buy the remaining stake from Formula One’s majority shareholder, CVC Capital.

The US media group is owned by American billionaire John Malone. Following the deal, former chief of ESPN sports broadcaster Sean Bratches will take care of the championship’s commercial operations, while F1 Mercedes team chief Ross Brawn will deal with sports aspects of the world’s most prestigious racing event.

The contract to include Russia in the calendar of the F1 racing for the 2014-2020 period was signed in 2010 in Sochi by then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and the now former CEO of Formula One, Bernie Ecclestone.

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.

During the inaugural race in 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.