Russian GP organisers play down renewed doubts

Sochi Autodrom is ready to host the grand prix

Sochi Autodrom is ready to host the grand prix

Organisers of the Russian Grand Prix have responded swiftly to renewed doubts about October’s inaugural Sochi race.

The Crimean crisis had already created uncertainty about the viability of a global sport like Formula 1 visiting Russia in 2014, particularly with president Vladimir Putin so involved in the Sochi project.

The shooting down of Malaysia Airlines MH17 is now piling even more pressure on Russia ahead of the grand prix, prompting organisers to react to media reports on Friday.

The Times correspondent Kevin Eason, for one, said Formula 1 is facing a potential “public relations fiasco”, with Putin’s planned visit to the race maybe “as ugly as the infamous Bahrain Grand Prix of 2012″.

According to the French-language La Presse, Sochi promoters said “all preparations are continuing” at Sochi and “deadlines will be met”.

The report also quoted the organisers as saying that the Russian Grand Prix will be “welcoming to everyone”. (GMM)