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Russian Grand Prix track to switch orders?

The Sochi Autodrom, home to Russia's Formula 1 race, is set for a change of ownership.

The track, built around the 2014 Winter Olympics infrastructure, is currently owned by the regional administration’s Center Omega venture, an entity which is controlled by the government of South Russia’s Krasnodar Territory, which also holds the race contract.

A spokesperson for the enterprise told state news agency Tass that plans are taking shape for a new backer to take control. “The racetracks are being handed over, terms and conditions are currently being discussed,” the spokesperson said.

Tass added that the Russian government is currently preparing legislation amendments to make the circuit state-owned or hand it over to a non-commercial organisation which would be exempt from value-added tax. The amendments are to reportedly enter force in July 2019.

In February 2017, Russian GP organisers agreed a five-year extension to their Formula 1 race deal, taking the contract through to 2025. Russia’s previous deal, running from 2014 to 2020, was signed by then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and the sport’s chief executive at the time, Bernie Ecclestone, back in 2010.

Russian financial services group VTB had earlier signed on as title sponsor of the country’s round of the championship. The agreement was the first major sponsorship deal to be announced following the sport's takeover by US media conglomerate Liberty Media.

At the time, the deal meant the race promoter fees were no longer being paid by the Russian government. Russian GP promoter Sergey Vorobyov told media it was "a complex deal, which combines the promoter contract".



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