Russian manager doubts fate of Sochi F1 circuit

Moscow, Sep 16 (IANS) Reputed Russian Formula One expert Oksana Kosachenko has doubted the commercial success of the Sochi circuit that will be making its debut in 2014.

Kosachenko, former manager of Russia's first F1 driver Vitaly Petrov, said that most Russian families cannot afford to shell out at least 20,000 rubles ($600) needed for buying tickets and travelling to the Black Sea resort town, reports Xinhua.

"People will not spend their money to go to Sochi. There are not that many families in Russia who can spend that for their leisure," said Kosachenko, who now deals with market research of prospective race venues in post-Soviet countries.

Kosachenko said that for Russian F1 fans, visiting the Hungarian Grand Prix will be cheaper instead of Sochi, which will be hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Sochi has signed a seven-year contract from 2014 but it may be further challenged if other post-Soviet cities secure a place on the F1 calendar, Kosachenko said.

"I know that a couple of the other countries are now in talks with (F1 supremo) Bernie (Ecclestone) about the possibility to host a Grand Prix, which can also complicate the whole deal," she said, giving no information whether her agency had any role in such prospective in other cities like Baku, Azerbaijan.

Petrov lost his Caterham F1 seat after last season. Meanwhile, another Russian, Sergei Sirotkin, 18, will be the youngest driver in F1 history if he races for Sauber.

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