Oct.12 (GMM) The chances the Russian grand prix could switch immediately to a night-race format stepped up a notch on Sunday.
As recently as mere days ago, Sochi race officials insisted that while there is a chance the ‘Autodrom’ could install floodlighting ahead of the 2017 race, next year’s edition will definitely take place in the day.
That is despite the fact that Russia, despite only holding its 2015 race on Sunday, will switch to become the fourth round of next year’s world championship in May.
Organiser Sergei Vorobyov insisted on Sunday that Sochi is “happy” with its new May date.
And Dmitry Kozak, the Russian deputy prime minister, was quoted on Sunday as saying that the grand prix next year will in fact be a floodlit night race.
Asked if Kozak misspoke, Vorobyov answered: “As you can see from the media, the discussion on this topic took place at the highest level, between Bernie Ecclestone and Russian president Vladimir Putin.
“And we, the organisers of the grand prix, are waiting for the task. If the task is to have a night race in 2016, we will fulfil it,” he insisted.
Ecclestone, 84, told the R-Sport news agency that he could not be happier with having Russia on the calendar.
“As long as I am alive,” said the diminutive Briton at Sochi, “we will be here.”