Has Russia snubbed F1 for FIA GT race?

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Aston Martin, Le Mans, 2008

In February new rumours came to light that Bernie Ecclestone was trying to arrange a Russian Grand Prix at St Petersburg. This has been a goal of his for some time as he tries to bring F1 into the world’s biggest emerging markets.

However the FIA GT series has just announced plans for a race at St Petersburg which seems to indicate the Russian Automobile Federation were not impressed by Ecclestone’s advances.

You can read the back story on Ecclestone’s attempts to start a Russian Grand Prix here. The original negotations apparently broke down over costs and disputes over who would take the earnings from what.

Ecclestone’s typical charges for holding an F1 race are enormous with additional annual increases pushing rates even higher. And he demands total ownership of the right to sell advertising at and television coverage of the race.

For one reason or another the Russians apparently considered the FIA GT championship a more attractive alternative. Perhaps space was a constraining factor: the circuit is apparently only 3km long and will be FIA grade two, making it unsuitable for F1 racing.

Or perhaps they balked at the price and one of F1’s emerging rivals swooped to place a race in a potentially lucrative new market?

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 9 comments on “Has Russia snubbed F1 for FIA GT race?”

    1. perhaps they just prefered working with a man such as Max. When negotiations get difficult they know simple blackmail is an option with an FIA director with a penchant for S&M.

    2. I’d hardly describe FIA GT as a rival to F1, it barely gets on TV. Same goes for the Le Mans series.

    3. “The original negotations apparently broke down over costs and disputes over who would take the earnings from what.”

      Cough…sound anything like..Cough…Indy’s deal…Cough?

      I honestly don’t know much about the FIA GT series, but it is truly shocking if Bernie’s plans for a Russian GP have fallen through. We all know that while Russia is not in good financial straights, there are more than a few people in the country that could put up the needed cash- Gazprom alone is on track to be the world’s biggest company in a few years. Again, Bernie would be well-served to realise that he may be(in the case of Russia) or is already (in the case of Indy) misisng out on great business deals by not understanding that every nation’s government won’t shell out a billion dollars for a Tilke circuit and $30 million every season for a race.

    4. Hear hear Gman! Also the FIA GT cars look like real cars – and cars I’m sure every Russian would aspire to – Aston Martin, Maserati, Ferrari, Porsche, Corvette.
      If I was a race promoter trying to get people to my circuit, I would start with something most people would recognise as racing cars!
      Perhaps the Russians will be the first of many to realise that Bernie isn’t good for the health of the economy – ‘disputes over who would take earnings from what’ – we already have seen how companies owned by Bernie / Bernies wife take the profits away from the people he expects to build a suitable venue.
      Donnington Beware!

    5. The new Domodedovo track (near Moscow) not enable for F1 races
      There tracks’s scheme: http://www.f1news.ru/userfiles/press3(1).jpg

    6. I can see why, having glamorous sportscars is much more attractive to the public than single seaters with ugly aero pieces – plus I can imagine at a far, far lower cost than at what Bernie wants.

      No need for F1 with Bernie’s “wants” and “demands”.

    7. An FIA event in Russia is probably a good way for the Russians to get their feet wet in professional motorsports. It will be a good way to gauge the public’s response and determine if professional motorsports can be a profitable endeavor there.

    8. I think the Russians already have local and national Rally and Touring Car events – but I’m not sure where to find out for sure, especially if they aren’t under FIA control yet.
      Any ideas on this?

    9. michael counsell
      10th July 2008, 14:43

      I don’t think its a case of F1 or FIA GT, more a case of FIA GT and still maybe F1.

    Comments are closed.