Ecclestone says Russian GP will go ahead

Bernie Ecclestone and Vladimir Putin

Bernie Ecclestone and Vladimir Putin

Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has moved to dismiss doubts that this year’s inaugural Russian Grand Prix will take place.

In the wake of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 atrocity, pressure is falling on Formula 1 to cancel its scheduled event at Sochi in October.

The Daily Mail said that Mercedes, whose Malaysian sponsor Petronas has set up a fund for the families of the 298 victims, is privately ‘uneasy’ about attending an event so closely associated with Vladimir Putin.

But Bernie Ecclestone, who earlier this year revealed his “great admiration” for the controversial Russian president, insists: “I don’t see any problem with going.

“We are not involved in politics. We have a contract with them. We’ll respect it 100 per cent and so will Mr Putin, I’m sure. He’s been very supportive,” the Formula 1 chief executive added.

The Daily Mail quoted a FIA spokesman as saying that while the Paris federation is “awake to the situation”, it did not want to “mix politics and sport”. (GMM)