F1 offers Sochi a fast future post-Games

Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:32am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Alan Baldwin

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Formula One's newest venue is a fenced-off building site, lines of skips and diggers parked along what will be the main straight, on the rubble-strewn fringes of an otherwise glittering Sochi Olympic Park.

The pitlane is roughly surfaced, the staircases and corridors above the garages littered with building materials and detritus. Wires dangle from the ceilings, empty shafts await their elevators.

The upper reaches of the main grandstand, and the VIP suites where the rich and famous will wine and dine in 'Paddock Club' opulence while watching the likes of four-times champion Sebastian Vettel blast past, are empty shells.

Spectators entering the Park on a balmy winter's day with tickets for the hottest show in town - Olympic figure skating or ice hockey - may not even realize they are walking along part of a racetrack.

It will be very different in eight months' time when what organizers hope will be a lasting legacy of the Winter Olympics takes shape in a much noisier and faster form - Russia's first Formula One Grand Prix on October 12.

Organizers say all is on schedule, even if the attention is currently on very different sports and brand new arenas a short stroll away.

"Construction of the autodrome in Sochi keeps moving forward. All works are being carried out according to the schedule. The racing track is 91 percent complete," said race promoter Oleg Zabara.

"Everything is according to plan, and there aren't any problems during Olympic period."   Continued...

A Russian Time GP2 car drives at the newly opened Sochi International Street Circuit in Sochi, September 27, 2013. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov