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7 Jul, 2022 12:17

Russia unveils alternative to canceled F1 Grand Prix

A much different event will replace the race in Sochi later this year
Russia unveils alternative to canceled F1 Grand Prix

The Sochi Grand Prix will be replaced by a two-day music festival, Russian motorsports bosses have announced, after Formula 1 dropped the race from its calendar because of the conflict in Ukraine.

The Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom on the Black Sea coast was due to take place in September for a ninth successive time, but F1 bosses formally ripped up their contract with Russia at the beginning of March.

Replacing the event, Russian motorsports organizers Rosgonki have unveiled a music festival titled ‘Festival #1’ (F#1), in a nod to the originally planned showpiece.   

“On September 24 and 25, 2022, Sochi Autodrom will host a multi-format music festival for the whole family,” read an announcement.  

“A rich entertainment program awaits guests: sports, science, lectures, exhibitions, children’s areas and much more.”

It added that the musical line-up will include popular Russian acts such as rock band Splean.  

“Where the engines roar, now the music will sound!” the announcement signed off.

F1 was among a host of international sports to turn its back on Russia after Moscow launched its military campaign in Ukraine.

Racing team Haas also severed their sponsorship deal with Russian company Uralkali before sacking Russian F1 driver Nikita Mazepin.

Longtime former F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, who helped bring a first Grand Prix to Sochi in 2014 following the Winter Olympics in the resort, recently caused an uproar in the West when he defended Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I’d still take a bullet for him,” said the former F1 boss.

“I’d rather it didn’t hurt, but if it did, I’d still take a bullet. Because he’s a first-class person. And what he’s doing is something that he believed was the right thing for Russia.”

Current F1 chiefs were quick to distance themselves from the veteran businessman’s comments.

It was confirmed in May that the Russian Grand Prix will not be replaced on the calendar this season. 

Formula 1 is planning to compensate organizers Rosgonki for the money invested in the event, according to reports