With the current Crimean crisis, you know Russia being Russia and invading countries and stuff, many have wondered if this year's inaugural Russian Grand Prix will actually happen. As of right now it is still on the calendar, although it still has a provisional mark associated with it. Leading many to wonder if it's a good idea or even feasible to hold the race this year in Russia. The race is set to take place in Sochi, the same city where the Olympics were just held. And as you all can remember that went off without a hitch, so long as you don't count packs of wolves, exploding water mains, lack of snow for the Winter Olympics, and possibly dropping to your death from exposed manholes. Yeah that went perfectly!
However, the current suggestion of having the race not take place isn't concerned with the possibility of the drivers being eaten by wolves. Rather it comes from the current state of Russia's foreign affairs. With so many of the world's nations imposing sanctions and embargoes on Russia, it might be impossible to actually hold the race there. In previous years, we have seen Formula 1 go to some areas of the world that are quite tense, Bahrain for example. But Russia poses a greater problem in that many sponsors of the race could possibly back out due to restrictions imposed by their countries of origin. Russian sponsors are also feeling the weight of their government's sanctions, the Sauber test driver Sergey Sirotkin lost his sponsorship due to the sponsor's frozen bank accounts because of their ties to Putin.
(He even looks sad!)
What also is concerning is the current images coming out of Sochi once again, just like the Olympics Sochi doesn't appear to be ready to take on the circus of a Formula 1 race. In fact if Google Satellite imagery is to be believed, it looks as if the entire Olympic park is now in greater shambles than it already was during the Olympics. Being in downtown Austin during the race last year, shows us American's how big of a circus a Formula 1 race actually is, and with so much left to do and fix up, Russia doesn't look like they will be able to get it done. Both the Formula 1 management and teams will not put up with these types of situations. The Russian Grand Prix is still months away, and the crisis could be over by then with one or more of the sides coming to the table. But with Putin's track record of hard lining the other side and his penchant for taking parts of other countries, see Georgia in 2008, I am not so sure that this race will actually happen. In light of the Russian GP not being likely to happen, can I interest Mr Todt, and Mr Ecclestone in some prime real estate on the East Coast of the United States? In fact it would be perfect because it would set the teams up ready to go for Austin two weeks after! America is more stable then Russia, and New York could pull together something real quick!
You can find me here on Twitter
and Check out Sittin Waitin Wishin: It's the John Varvatos 300!
Photo Credit to F1fanatic.