It has been announced that the Russian Grand Prix organisers are hopeful the new May date awarded to them for the 2016 Formula 1 calendar will be a long-term fixture.
This year’s event will again take place in October, as was the case for the race’s debut last season. But following lengthy discussions with Bernie Ecclestone; they have managed to negotiate April 29-May 1 on the 21 race calendar for the 2016 season.
In an interview with the media earlier this week, circuit promoter Sergey Vorobyev stated the following about the new date for the Russian GP in Sochi as follows:-
‘This new date is much better for us. We had actually been discussing an option to have the May date for this year. Unfortunately it didn’t work out, but we’re glad it now has for 2016, and we hope it will stay as our date for years to come.
‘The main reason for this is the first of May is the start of a long nine, 10-day holiday season in Russia. This is a period of the year when people typically have a four or five-day vacation or the full vacation, so it means they won’t have to take time off to be in Sochi.
‘Also, until the middle of May, it is still the skiing season, so people will be able to combine visiting Formula 1 and skiing, which makes attending even more attractive.’
Although the race is back-to-back with Bahrain, further on in his interview Vorobyev does not feel there will be any logistical issues, particularly given what transpired last year when the race followed immediately after Japan. Vorobyev added the following:-
‘We had to do it last year with FOM [Formula One Management] and our partners when we were back-to-back with Japan. Then it was even more complicated because there was a delay in the freight leaving Japan due to the typhoon. So if it was managed the first year then I don’t see it as a problem next year.’
For this season, and the standalone date of October 11, ticket sales are down in comparison to last year, but Vorobyev has no doubt there will again be a 55,000 full-house. He said the following about the subject:-
‘Ticket sales are a bit slower compared to the same time last year, but at this stage we are getting close to 60 per cent of all tickets sold. Now we are starting to do some marketing, TV slots, billboards, and we are sure we will be sold out by the race.’