APRIL 30, 2016
Russia GP secure with Putin's backing says Ecclestone
Bernie Ecclestone says Russia will stay on the F1 schedule so long as it has the backing of Vladimir Putin.
The F1 supremo is an avowed admirer of the controversial Russian president, who Ecclestone said is likely to present the trophies on the podium on Sunday.
"We'll see, but we would be very happy if he did," the 85-year-old Briton told Tass news agency at Sochi. "I would be surprised if he didn't (come to the race)."
Ecclestone is also quoted by Ria Novosti news agency: "It's wonderful of him to find the time to come to the grand prix.
"It's difficult for him, he's under a lot of pressure as a very well-known politician, as people understand what he has done, is doing and will do.
"Russia is an important country and we will be here as long as Mr Putin wants to. Forget about contracts -- if he wants Russia to go from formula one, it will go, and if he wants it to stay, we will stay," Ecclestone said.
Finally, Bernie confirmed reports that talks are still underway about Sochi becoming a floodlit night race in the future.
"I'd like to see it happen, I like the idea," he said, "but the decision is for the organisers. If Russia wants to, I am happy to support the idea."