Plans to stage a Russian Grand Prix on the Winter Olympic park in Sochi took a step forward with the announcement of a promoter, as well as the release of artists' impressions of how sections of the circuit may appear.
Progress is also being made with the construction and preparation for the race, despite it not being expected to join the F1 schedule until after the Games in 2014. The details were made public at a press conference accompanying the weekend's Moscow City Racing event which drew visits from several F1 teams.
Nicholai Buturlakin, deputy governor of the Krasnodar region, who oversees the project, officially introduced Alexander Bogdanov as a new general director of OJSC 'Formula Sochi', as well as confirming that construction of the circuit and infrastructure on the Imeretinskaya lowlands was progressing quickly.
"Today in Russia we can see the rapid development of motor racing, and the F1 project in Russia arouses great interest," Buturlakin, who witnessed the international debut of the Moscow Speedway at the weekend, "We are confident that the circuit in Sochi will be a respectable addition to all the other prestigious sporting events, such as Winter Olympics 2014 and FIFA World Cup 2018, which will be held every year in our country.
"The project of the Russian F1 round has its own history, we have long wanted to get the grand prix. Finally, in 2014, it will become a reality. We have chosen a great place, next to the sea, mountains, and the Olympic Park. The circuit for the Grand Prix will be a part of the Olympic infrastructure. Sochi will be the centre of
sports and, in particular, motor racing.”
Design and survey works are still being carried out, but construction and assembly works have begun on other sections, with the medical centre, pit buildings and the pit-lane already under construction, The main grandstand has seen completion of its facade, while the laying of internal engineering networks and improvement of the whole area of the starting complex are underway. Work on strengthening the soil and preparing the foundations for the track are being carried out and, while racing lines are fully pointed, the work on replacing the ground at the base of the track is still going on. All the works, including the construction of the grandstand in front of the pit building, will be completed by the time the Winter Games take place.
"On behalf of the company, which is responsible for the construction, I would like to assure you that we do not have unresolved problems," Mikhail Kapirulin, general director of Omega Centre, the operation responsible for the construction of the circuit, "The uniqueness of this project is that we co-operate with our colleagues engaged in a parallel construction of Olympic facilities. Of course, we face some difficulties, but today we united our efforts with many companies - our colleagues, who have been making construction of the Olympic facilities. The current collaboration gives us great confidence that we will create one of the best circuits for F1. Together with
the German engineering and design company Tilke GmbH, we promise you that it will be a worthy racing track."
Despite the usual doubts being cast over the viability event by the F1 rumour mill, especially in light of other failed Russian GP projects, Bogdanov also insists that there are no obstacles to be overcome.
"The Russian round of the F1 world championship is destined to happen," he claimed, "We are pleased to be here in Moscow, and to present our project at the Moscow City Racing Road Show. The F1 grand prix will be a significant event for our country. I'm glad that I and my team have the honour to hold this event, we are ready to do it on the international level."