MAY 20, 2014
Race chief says no risk of Russia GP axe
There is "no risk" Russia will not stage its inaugural grand prix in October.
That is the claim of Alexander Saurin, the administration chief of the local Krasnodar territory, and in charge of the resort city Sochi's post-Olympics plans.
"We are on schedule. The necessary inspections have been made and there is no risk to the first grand prix of Russia," he told the German news agency DPA.
There have been reports the Sochi race will have to be cancelled, amid the threat of war between Russia and Ukraine and escalating European and US sanctions.
"We are preparing everything to make our guests feel at ease," said Saurin. "We do not connect these political things with formula one.
"It is safe to go to Sochi right now and it will be safe in October still," he insisted.
"We guarantee the safety of our visitors -- this is our standard and that will continue."
Saurin said the economic sanctions, which have seen funds and bank accounts frozen already by the West, will not affect the region's running of the F1 event.
"We have a contract and we hold ourselves to it," he said. "We have guarantees. And at the moment we see no financial problems for the event.
"We have 12 million viewers of formula one in Russia, and 80 per cent of the tickets are reserved already -- the race will be sold out," Saurin claimed.