Lack of F1 'culture' in Russia a concern
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#1 Aug 16, 2011
Oksana Kossatchenko, Vitaly Petrov's manager, concedes that while circuit preparation is on track for the Russian GP, there are other concerns.
The Russian GP is set to debut at the Black Sea resort city of Sochi in 2014 and by all reports the completion of a circuit will not be a problem.
However, Kossatchenko reveals that infrastructure is not the biggest problem facing the event.
"In Russia, this is a different country and a different culture," Kossatchenko told GPUpdate.
"The problem with organising it is not only the construction of the circuit, but I'm really concerned about the preparation of the audience. I will tell you, we don't have any specialised media in Russia which is specifically dedicated to motorsports.
"In England there are a lot of magazines, and in Russia we used to have the F1 Racing magazine, but due to the high investment they cancelled the project. At the moment we don't have it; if you don't have media you can't have an audience, and if you don't have an audience, why should you prepare the grandstands if you will have empty grandstands? So these are things we have to do, we have to approach the corner and we have to do a lot of things, but we can't do it without the support of the government.
"That's why there are a few steps which we have to jump to. The first is to prepare the media, then prepare the audience and then prepare the next Russian drivers - at the moment we are still struggling.
"At the moment there is no motorsport infrastructure in Russia, no formula series, and the go-kart has not developed very much. That's why it's a serious investment which we have to consider before we push the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Russia."
Vitaly Petrov became Russia's first F1 driver when he made his debut last season and while there were plans to have a race in the Soviet Union in the 1980's, the region has not held a grand prix since the introduction of the Formula One World Championship.
#2 Aug 17, 2011
That's not strictly true.
Russia has a National Motoring Organisation, several motor clubs, several racing series, etc... although I admit they are concentrated in the North West around Moscow and St Petersburg.
Most of racing activities in Russia are around rallying, not road racing or single seater.
Russia will have the same problem in organising a F1 GP than other countries lacking motor racing traditions like Singapore, China, Dubai, Turkey, etc...
Also, spectators often come from abroad, and this is where Russia has to make effort to facilitate their trip.
Under the present system (visa), going to Russia is still too difficult.
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