Putin says Russian Grand Prix on track

March 09, 2014 - 4:07:11 am
SOCHI, Russia: Preparations for the first ever Grand Prix in Russia are on track, President Vladimir Putin told Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone, yesterday, on the sidelines of the Winter Paralympics.

The October 10 to 12 race meet, the first on Russian soil, will take place at the Sochi Olympic Park in the Black Sea resort, where athletes this week began competing in the Paralympic Games.

Putin, under international pressure over the situation in neighbouring Ukraine, where thousands of pro-Russia troops have fanned out across the Crimean peninsula, told Ecclestone the race would be a good use of the specially-built Olympic venue. “It allows us to use the infrastructure more effectively once these big competitions come to an end,” he said.

Putin acknowledged that there remained work to be done ahead of the race, which was added to the calendar for this season as part of a revamp of the line-up.

But, he said, difficulties had been of a practical, rather than a conceptual nature. The Russian president did not give details of the problems, but reports have suggested a large number of stray dogs is a worry for organisers.