21 December 2014
F1: Sochi takes Promoters' Trophy following Olympic conversion
Organisers of the inaugural Russian Grand Prix have been rewarded with the Promoters' Trophy after successfully converting the Winter Olympic Park into an F1 venue...
F1's newest event, the Russian Grand Prix, has scooped the 2014 award for the best organised race of the season.
The Race Promoters' Trophy is traditionally awarded the grand prix held in the most difficult circumstances, although the prize often finds its way into the hands of new events, a tradition the Sochi Autodrom continues after a successful late season debut.
With factors such as construction and implementation timelines, the eventual success of the event and the feedback following the event all taken into account, the Russian Grand Prix made a compelling case for consideration as the Autodrom rose from the Olympic Park used only months earlier for the 2014 Winter Games.
The construction project proved to be one of the most successful in recent years, with preparation for the inaugural Russian F1 race being completed in record time following the closing ceremonies of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The track successfully passed FIA certification on 19 August, while organisers and the Federal Customs Service jointly managed to fulfil the task of bringing the teams' equipment from the previous round at Suzuka, a task complicated by weather conditions and the load transfer delay from Japan.
Over 166 thousand people attended the grand prix between 10-12 October, including over 500 high-ranking Russian and foreign guests, while 3.4 million Russians watched the event on television - three times the national TV audience for any other grand prix. Some 1100 volunteers were recruited from twelve countries and various regions of Russia during the preparation phase.
“The experience of the Russian Grand Prix organisers is really unique,” F1 head Bernie Ecclestone commented, “The event in Sochi has truly become the best of the season. I would like to thank everyone who realised this project in such a short term for courage that made the Russian F1 stage possible. The good thing was that the organisers asked us and listened to the advice we gave.”
Although Sochi was announced as the winner of the award at the FIA Genral Assembly at the beginning of December, Ecclestone personally delivered the trophy to Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Kozak on Friday.
“To make the grand prix project come to life, Russia and the F1 organisers followed a way that lasted for several decades,” Kozak explained, “We have faced an important and challenging task to construct the most modern world-class autodrom together with the Olympic Winter Games' preparation. For this kind of systematic infrastructural reforms, many countries needed decades as we have managed to cope in just six years.
“Sochi Autodrom's recognition as the best motorsport facility symbolised the triumph of this hard work. However, it was important not only to create infrastructure but to organise the event on the highest level possible, so I want to thank all those who was involved in preparation of the best grand prix in the world in 2014.”
While officially present to hand over the Promoters' Trophy, Ecclestone did not leave Russia empty-handed, as he presented with the Russian Order of Friendship, a medal given for promoting international ties with the country
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