Richard Cregan, who has overseen the successful introduction of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to the F1 calendar, is to lend his expertise to the sport's latest newcomer.
Formula Sochi has signed a contract with Cregan's consultancy company Rasgaira, giving itself access to one of the most experienced managers in F1. Cregan has overseen the Yas Marina Circuit for the past five years and, with it, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Under his guidance, the round has become one of the most eagerly-anticipated on F1 world championship tour.
With Abu Dhabi established – and returning to the role of finale host in 2014 - Cregan and his team have committed to a three-year contract with the Russians and have already begun work on the ground.
“I am delighted to be part of this exciting project to help deliver the Russian Grand Prix with my team and the team of Formula Sochi,” the Irishman, a former team manager at Toyota Motorsport and its F1 operation, commented, “Together, we will make this a grand prix to remember for the people of Sochi and Russia.
“Moving on from Abu Dhabi was a tough decision for me, but I have always enjoyed a new challenge and remain an advisor to the chairman and management there. I am convinced that the Russian Grand Prix will become one of the iconic events in the F1 calendar and we will be able to build a very successful business by utilising the amazing assets and the passion of the team here in Sochi.”
Cregan became CEO of Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management, the company responsible for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the development of motorsport in the UAE, in 2009. He was tasked with the completion of the circuit, development of a team and the delivery of the grand prix and, since then, his team has delivered five sell-out GP's at Yas Marina Circuit and over 400 hundred additional events to date including world forums, conferences, and major automobile events. The first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix also achieved the FIA award for Best Grand Prix of 2009.
“I am pleased to announce the beginning of collaboration between Formula Sochi and Richard Cregan with his team,” promoter Oleg Zabara said, “The combined, and impressive, experience that the international consultants have, their understanding of the F1 world, and the desire to do the Russian Grand Prix at the highest level guarantee a good result of our teamwork. Knowledge and experience which we will get in the course of this cooperation will ensure not only hosting the world-class grand prix, but also effective use of the autodrome in Sochi all year-round.”
The inaugural Russian Grand Prix will be held on the 12 October next year, using a track based in the new Olympic Park in Sochi. Construction of the circuit, under the guidance of Tilke Gmbh & Co, is progressing, with Bernie Ecclestone, Sebastian Vettel, David Coulthard, Vitaly Petrov and FIA safety delegate Charlie Whiting all having visited in recent weeks. Formula Sochi has also agreed terms for GP2 and GP3 to support the F1 event next year.
Formula Sochi 2013 demonstration races took place for the first time in September, and the venue is regularly visited by the Formula One group of companies and FIA officials, with security, logistics and F1 hospitality among the list of topics for discussion.
Following Cregan's arrival, the next announcement from Sochi was to confirm that ticket sales for the Russian Grand Prix would start on 4 March 2014, 222 days before the race. The promoter's website, which will be launched in February, is set to become the main platform of the tickets sale.
“We don't have too much time to the race weekend, [and] the Formula Sochi team is moving at high speed towards the first Russian Grand Prix in history,” Zabara concluded, “We are doing everything for this unique project for our country to become a successful and bright experience.”