The promoter of the Russian Grand Prix has credited Bernie Ecclestone for helping to extend the race's contract until 2025.
The race, which takes place in the streets around the Winter Olympic Park, has a larger contract than the majority of the races on the 2019 calendar, and the most recent contract extension was announced in March of 2017 just a few weeks after Ecclestone was replaced by Chase Carey as CEO of Formula 1.
However, the promoter, Sergey Vorobyov made it clear that Ecclestone's input into finalising the deal had been vital: “It’s been an interesting situation,” he told RaceFans. “We started talking about the extension of the contract with Bernie and he did help us to find the proper way to [get] Russian sponsors to the event.
“The Russian Grand Prix is sponsored by VTB and Lukoil, the official event sponsors, and he did propose the way how to make it so that it’s beneficial for everyone – the sponsor and for the promoter. I’m not in a position to elaborate deeper but he was the one who helped to make the deal much more efficient.
“But this deal was finally announced only when Liberty was already in charge so this was a great teamwork, I can say. In the end the benefit which VTB and Lukoil bring to the sport in terms of their marketing involvement, their activations, is great and in the end it’s like a win-win-win solution for everyone.”
The current deal is “solid until 2025” said Vorobyov, who said their relationship with new owners Liberty Media was constructive: “We are fine with the way how Liberty treats us and replies to our questions. We always find a way to way resolve the issues.
"There is always some minor issues. There is a race promotion contract and also there is a lot of additional arrangements which you have to make; media rights. Paddock Club and other things. To be honest I’m quite delighted by the way Liberty deals with things.”
“There is two things which have been very good in Bernie’s era I would say. And they are confidentiality and direct dealings with him. This is the thing we’re going to keep doing.
“If we will be feeling that our fee is not fair then we’ll definitely talk to Liberty about it but it will be a one-on-one negotiation and we’ll do our best on our side to keep it confidential."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing