Start, GP2, Sochi Autodrom, 2015

Russian GP ticket sales helped by return of F2 and GP3

2018 Russian Grand Prix

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The return of Formula Two (previously GP2) and GP3 to the Russian Grand Prix support race bill, including local talents Artem Markelov and Nikita Mazepin, has increased ticket sales according to the race promoter.

Sergey Vorobyov told RaceFans in an exclusive interview ticket sales for this weekend’s race have “out-paced a lot of previous years”.

“Obviously we are happy with the growth of ticket sales,” he said. “It’s significant. We are already out-performing the previous two years and on-track to reach 2015 levels of ticket sales in terms of volume, in terms of revenue.”

Vorobyov believes “the interest towards Formula 1 in Russia is growing” and the return of the series’ two official support races for the first time since 2015 has stimulated interest in the event.

“We have such great drivers, also in support series we are happy with the progress of Nikita Mazepin and Artem Markelov. The fact that support races are back in Sochi, thanks to Liberty actually, this helps a lot.”

The support race bill had become very thin at the Russian Grand Prix in the absence of the two series. Last year the entire three-day weekend featured little more than two hours of racing. Vorobyov believes the drop in attendance at the Russian Grand Prix in recent years was partly due to the lack of support races.

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The return of F2 and GP3 coincides with strong performances by the top Russian drivers in the series. Markelov is fourth in F2, finished second last year and made his F1 test debut for the Renault F1 team in August. Mazepin, who has tested for Force India, lies second in GP3.

Artem Markelov, F2, Paul Ricard, 2018
Markelov is a Renault junior driver
“Basically our fans they do need someone competitive to support and now we have two competitive drivers in the support series so it definitely helps,” said Vorobyov.

The only Russian driver in F1 this year is Williams racer Sergey Sirotkin. However Daniil Kvyat has been linked to a comeback at his former team Toro Rosso.

The race’s return to a late-season calendar slot has also stimulated ticket sales, Vorobyov added.

“That definitely had a great impact. The geography of our race has become so many more people from distant regions of Russia are coming to Sochi because they are combining the location because the sea is still warm in Sochi at the end of September.”

“It’s called the velvet season when the air is not too hot so it’s comfortable and the sea is still warm,” he said. “It’s the best possible time in Sochi.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 5 comments on “Russian GP ticket sales helped by return of F2 and GP3”

    1. “It’s called the velvet season when the air is not too hot so it’s comfortable and the sea is still warm,” he said. “It’s the best possible time in Sochi.”
      – Then why did you shift from the late-season flyaway phase to the early-season phase in the first place? Initially, at this time of year for the first two seasons (2014 and ’15), and then a move to late-April/early-May for 2016 only to revert to the back-end of the season again for this season. Just make up your mind already and stick with it for the long-term rather than jump back-and-forth from one end of the season to the other every two to three years.

      1. @jerejj isnt the date determined by Liberty and not the track management?

        1. @flyingbasil Ultimately yes, but whenever a change of date slot occurs, it’s the track management that is responsible for asking for it. After having had a slot at this time of year for the first two seasons, they asked for a move to a slot around the May Day due to a public holiday phase taking place annually at that time of year, but after only two seasons of having been the 4th round of the Championship, they then wished to get back to this time of year due to the World Cup taking place in the town. They just can’t seem to make up their minds about where on the race calendar they want to be in the long-term, LOL.

          1. Well, “they” changes a lot. From the first GP there have been at least three different companies operating the track. Those people who are in charge now, started just this year.

    2. Pretty sure their recent widely advertised (inside the country) -40% sale on all tickets helped a lot, too. :)

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