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Formula 1 Russian GP

Russian GP not ruling out alternating F1 race between Sochi and Igora Drive

The possibility of sharing hosting duties for the Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix between Igora Drive and Sochi Autodrom is "not completely closed", according to the race promoter.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W11 Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W11, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16 and Daniel Ricciardo, Renault F1 Team R.S.20 at the start of the race

F1 announced last week that the Russian Grand Prix would be leaving Sochi following the 2022 race and move to the Igora Drive track on the outskirts of St Petersburg from 2023.

Despite the change in location, the race will continue to be run by race promoter Rosgonki, which has the contract to hold the Russian Grand Prix until the end of 2025.

Sochi debuted on the F1 calendar in 2014 and hosted Russia's first world championship grand prix, and the track will remain intact as part of the complex from the 2014 Winter Olympics.

"Everything will be fine with the [Sochi] track," Rosgonki CEO Alexey Titov told Autosport.

"It will continue to exist, because after all, it is not only a motorsport heritage and the first race track to welcome Formula 1 in Russia, but it is also part of the Olympic legacy of the Russian Federation.

"We will only develop it further, and if we talk about sports prospects, they remain unchanged. Because together with Formula 1, the license will not leave the track anywhere. Sochi Autodrom will keep the [Grade 1] category. Therefore, the track will be ready to welcome any series in the future.

"But from the point of view of commercial use, here, of course, we have a free hand, because all the restrictions that were previously associated with Formula 1 and its presence at the circuit are now removed.

"We can more flexibly approach the use of a very large area of the circuit, with a completely different format. This makes us happy, because it also allows the circuit to evolve in the first place."

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W11, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W11, Sergio Perez, Racing Point RP20, and the rest of the field at the start

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W11, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W11, Sergio Perez, Racing Point RP20, and the rest of the field at the start

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

By retaining a Grade 1 licence, Sochi would remain eligible to host future grands prix, leaving the door open for it to potentially share hosting duties with Igora Drive in the future.

Titov said that while it was not an active discussion at the moment amid the focus on moving the race to St Petersburg, he could not rule out the possibility.

"The idea of alternating races has not yet been completely swept away," Titov said.

"I would not say that the discussion of it exists as an active topic, but it is still not completely closed.

"We are still focused on working out a detailed plan for the race in St. Petersburg. This is the priority now. How the event will evolve further is the next question.

"The contract ends in 2025. Sooner or later, discussions should begin about whether we will extend it or not.

"Of course, in these discussions, discussions will also arise on the topic of conditions, format, and so on. But these are the discussions of the future."

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