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Controversial Putin to attend inaugural Russia GP at Sochi

  • Published on 08 Oct 2014 09:41
  • comments 1
  • By: Rob Veenstra
F1 will court further controversy this weekend when Russian president Vladimir Putin oversees the inaugural grand prix at Sochi. Amid the Ukraine crisis, the MH17 atrocity and tough anti-Russian sanctions imposed by Europe and the US, there had already been calls for formula one to cancel its first race in the country.

But mere days after the Japanese grand prix, F1 is now busily setting up at the new Sochi Autodrom, based around the central venue of the Winter Olympic Games earlier this year. Having skipped Japan, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone will be at Sochi this weekend, having travelled to the former Soviet state Azerbaijan on Tuesday to unveil the sport's next destination, the 2016 European grand prix at Baku.

As for controversial Russia this weekend, he insisted: "We are happy, the sponsors appear to be happy, so we carry on. "No one has spoken to me about this race or told me that we cannot go," he told The Times. "The sanctions do not affect us and what we are doing is not illegal. The Russian people asked us to come here and that is what we are doing. We are putting on a grand prix. This is nothing to do with politics. As I have always said, we do not do politics. We are in Sochi to race," said Ecclestone.

Times correspondent Kevin Eason claims Putin, who is "a close friend" of Ecclestone's, will also be there. "F1 should reflect on the lack of global support for Putin's behaviour in the Ukraine," said Dr Andrew Foxall, director of the Russia Studies Centre at London's Henry Jackson Society think-tank. "If Putin appears to wave to the crowd, it will be on global television and F1 will forever be blighted by association with an authoritarian regime." (GMM)

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  • I agree 100% with the last comment in the main article. Anything for a buck, right Bernie?

    I am boycotting the whole damned thing - couldn't care less.

    • + 0
    • Oct 8 2014 - 14:10

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Date
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Circuit
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Bahrain
26 - Mar 28
Bahrain
16 - Apr 18
Italy
7 - May 9
Spain
20 - May 23
Monaco
4 - Jun 6
Azerbaijan
18 - Jun 20
France
25 - Jun 27
Austria
2 - Jul 4
Austria
16 - Jul 18
United Kingdom
30 - Aug 1
Hungary
27 - Aug 29
Belgium
3 - Sep 5
Netherlands
10 - Sep 12
Italy
24 - Sep 26
Russian
8 - Oct 10
Japan
8 - Oct 10
Turkey
22 - Oct 24
United States of America
5 - Nov 7
Mexico
12 - Nov 14
Brazil
3 - Dec 5
Saudi Arabia
10 - Dec 12
United Arab Emirates
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Formula 1 Calendar - 2021

Date
Grand Prix & Circuit
26 - Mar 28
16 - Apr 18
7 - May 9
20 - May 23
Monaco Monte Carlo
4 - Jun 6
Azerbaijan Baku City Circuit
18 - Jun 20
France Paul Ricard
25 - Jun 27
Austria Red Bull Ring
2 - Jul 4
Austria Red Bull Ring
16 - Jul 18
United Kingdom Silverstone
30 - Aug 1
Hungary Hungaroring
27 - Aug 29
3 - Sep 5
Netherlands Circuit Zandvoort
10 - Sep 12
Italy Monza
24 - Sep 26
Russian Sochi Autodrom
8 - Oct 10
8 - Oct 10
Turkey Istanbul Park
22 - Oct 24
United States of America Circuit of the Americas
5 - Nov 7
12 - Nov 14
Brazil Interlagos
3 - Dec 5
Saudi Arabia Jeddah Street Circuit
10 - Dec 12
United Arab Emirates Yas Marina Circuit
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