The maiden Russian Grand Prix, scheduled to take place in Sochi in 2014, won’t gather enough audience, says Oksana Kosachenko, manager of Russia’s only Formula 1 driver Vitaly Petrov.
“For me, Sochi is like a track in Korea,” Kosachenko told RIA Novosti news agency. “It’s the wrong region, with nothing around. We’ve got this beautiful place, but one has to agree that it’s not the cleanest spot possible. This isn’t the French Rivera.”
According to the manager, there’s not enough time to prepare the city for hosting such a massive event.
“If there were plans to turn Sochi into the French Rivera first, and then, after five years, bring Formula 1 there – it would’ve been a different story,” she said. “But we’re trying to do both things at the same time – Côte d’Azur and Formula 1, and host the Olympics as well. That’s too many tasks to be achieved at the same time, we must be realistic.”
And even if the organizers surpass themselves and hold the race, there are plenty of problems awaiting them in the future.
“The most difficult Grand Prix isn’t the first, but the second, third, fifth and seventh,” the manager explained. “I’m afraid that the second and third races won’t be able to gather even thirty thousand in the stands.”
Before Sochi was chosen as the Russian Grand Prix venue last October, a city race by the Kremlin in Moscow was discussed.