FORMULA 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has reached a formal deal with the Russian government which will the country host its first Formula 1 Grand Prix in 2014.
The deal will cost the country about £25m a year, and extends until 2020. Russia also has an option to extend the deal for a further five years.
The first grand prix at the circuit – which has not yet been built, but will be situated at the city’s Olympic Park – may be delayed until 2015, however, because of the fact that the Olympic Park hosts the Winter Olympics in 2014.
Ecclestone has been trying to bring Formula 1 to Russia since the early 1980s – he had reportedly come close to arranging a USSR Grand Prix before the collapse of the Soviet Union, but plans to build circuits in both Moscow and St Petersburg came to nothing – said the company had committed to building a top-class facility.
“I sincerely hope that the Formula One is going to play a big part in what I can see happening in Sochi,” he said.
Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin had endorsed the plans, saying the new GP circuit would help fulfil the requirement of the International Olympic Committee to leave a tangible positive legacy.
It has separately bee confirmed that the South Korean grand prix will go ahead in October 24, after earlier concerns that the circuit would not be c completed in time bore fruit.
India will also host its first GP next year, with a new circuit in Texas coming on stream for the return of the United States grand prix in 2012. The overcrowding means that some other races will need to be dropped from the current calendar.