Putin to Sign 7-Year Russian GP Deal in Sochi

In 2010, Russia had its first driver enter the world of Formula One, through GP2 graduate Vitaly Petrov. From the looks of it, it seems the country will strengthen its links with the Great Circus with an own Grand Prix, due to be held in the resort city Sochi starting 2014.

According to media reports on Thursday, it seems that Russian PM Vladimir Putin is in Sochi these days to sign the deal that would see F1 travel to Russia for at least 7 years. Bloomberg reports that the agreement includes the possibility for a 5-year extension past 2020.

During last weekend's race at Suzuka, Bernie Ecclestone answered a few questions coming from the Kommersant daily in which he pointed out that once Putin gives his go-ahead, he'll sign for the race immediately.

When the appropriate person from Russia signs it, I will sign it the next day,” said the Brit in Japan.

According to the same source, it seems that the whole Russian Grand Prix thing will cost the country around $200 million for the entire 7-year period, despite recent reports suggesting the fee for a potential race in Sochi will reach $40 million per year.

In case the deal will be reached, Sochi will become a true sporting center of the modern days. Apart from the bespoke circuit which is to host the F1 race, there is also the Olympic center that will become the base of the 2014 Winter Olympics, while also a potential stadium which Putin has agreed to build in order to win the competition for a FIFA World Cup host in 2018.

As far as Formula One is concerned, Petrov's efforts to join the series have been seriously backed by the same Russian PM Vladimir Putin, who set up an important sponsoring deal between Lada and Renault F1 team in March this year.

Update: According to Reuters, Putin announced: "We have reached an agreement with the principal owner of Formula 1 that Sochi would host the Russian Grand Prix from 2014 to 2020."
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