Sochi: Formula One's first Russian Grand Prix will take place in October 2014, President Vladimir Putin has said. Meeting F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone on Monday, Putin said the track at the Olympic Park in Sochi would be ready on time to host the race and that 3.6 km of tarmac at the six-kilometre track had already been laid. "I think that, as we planned, we will be able to host the first race in October 2014," Putin said.
No calendar has been announced for the 2014 F1 season, and the only previous indication of a race date came last month when Sochi's mayor said the race would be held in November 2014. An October date for Sochi suggests F1 could rejig the calendar for 2014 as the Russian race would fall among the several Far Eastern races on the 2013 schedule.
The Sochi track uses some of the access roads for the Winter Olympics next February, and Putin said it was a prime example of Olympic legacy at work. "A Formula One competition obviously will be a significant addition to the entire Olympic infrastructure and help us to use many of the facilities from the Olympic Games in the sense of Olympic legacy," he said.
Ecclestone, who earlier on Monday said he was "super-impressed" by what he had seen of the track under construction, said Sochi's experience with F1 was a model for other Olympic hosts.
Brazil, which will host the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, would be "ashamed" to see Russia's F1 progress, he said. Brazil currently hosts a race at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paolo, which has been open since 1940.
"In most countries people just build things without knowing what they're going to turn it into afterwards," Ecclestone added.