Formula One: Russian Grand Prix in Sochi eyes night race as early as 2017

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS • The Russian Grand Prix could become a night race as early as 2017.

This is according to Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone and the organisers.

"We've talked about it. Maybe in 2017 - so you know you can book your tickets for the next 10 years," Ecclestone told reporters at the Belgian Grand Prix.

The race in Sochi has a contract till 2020 and an extension is being discussed.

Alexander Saurin, vice-governor of the Krasnodar region, said through Russian GP chief executive Sergey Vorobyev: "We are assessing the idea (of a night race) from a commercial perspective. We are calculating the cost now.

"But we are working towards having a night race some time in the future. Not earlier than 2017."

Singapore currently boasts the world's only full night race.

The Russian Grand Prix made its debut last year. But it is set to move from an October slot to May 1 next year at the organisers' request to fit in with Russia's major holiday period.

Saurin said ticket sales for this year's race on Oct 11 would exceed last year's. Demand has been boosted by the success of Red Bull's Russian driver Daniil Kvyat, who finished second in Hungary last month. "Having a local hero is transforming the event for the people for whom Formula One is a new sport," he said.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 24, 2015, with the headline 'Sochi eyes night race and May date'. Print Edition | Subscribe