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?