MOSCOW, July 31 (R-Sport) – Red tape is snarling up the application process for Russia’s first Formula One Grand Prix in Sochi in 2014, but the country still has time to make it onto next year’s calendar, the world governing body FIA told R-Sport on Wednesday.
Bringing the world's most prestigious auto sport to Russia is the work of President Vladimir Putin, who oversaw the signing of a deal with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone in 2010 to stage an annual race in the southern city from next year through 2020.
And although bureaucratic problems leave a question mark hanging over the event with a little over 14 months until lights-out, the international automobile federation said they may not prove fatal to the race’s future.
“The calendar is approved at the end of September,” an FIA spokeswoman told R-Sport without giving her name. She refused to comment on the case of the Russian Grand Prix specifically, citing confidentiality, but confirmed that a failure to apply more than a year in advance would not necessarily damage an event’s chances of being admitted.
The problem blighting the Sochi Grand Prix is a spat between the Russian Automobile Federation (RAF) and race promoter Omega Center, which is also building the 5.9 kilometer (3.7 mile) track around the coastal Olympic Park.
The RAF is refusing to file a race application with the FIA until Omega, which is tied to the Krasnodar region government, agrees to bear the cost of training the 700-800 personnel required to staff the race such as marshals and security.
A deadline to file the application passes Wednesday July 31, the RAF told R-Sport last week.
The headline for this story was changed at 17:00 to remove attribution to the FIA