Russia wants to be reimbursed after its exclusion from the Formula 1 calendar. After Russia invaded Ukraine, the Russian Grand Prix was removed from the F1 calendar. The circuit’s promoter is claiming the entry fees paid in 2022.
In 2014, after several unsuccessful attempts, Formula 1 came to Russia to run a Grand Prix. The Russian Grand Prix had remained on the calendar until 2021. However, following the invasion of Ukraine, heavy economic sanctions were imposed on Russia, making it impossible to organise a race weekend from 2022, even though a contract had been signed.
“They owe us money,”
However, according to Alexey Titov, promoter of the Russian GP, the organisers of the race weekend had duly paid the fees to be able to host the race on the Sochi circuit, without receiving any reimbursement from F1:
“They owe us money,” he explained to the Tass news agency, “and we are asking Formula 1 to give it back to us. The entry fee was paid, but the race did not take place…”
The organisation had in fact laid the groundwork for F1 to host the 2022 world championship, which did not take place due to sanctions imposed on the country.
“They admit there is a debt,” Titov adds, “and in that sense there is no dispute, but they say they are not technically able to return the money. As organisers, we were controlled by VTB bank, which was a technical sponsor, so there are legal obstacles to returning the funds. However, there is of course a hope to get the money back. It’s the country’s money, and I’m not afraid to say so.”
“I don’t miss F1 at all!”
However, while Titov reaffirmed the possibility of getting the money back, he at the same time denied the possibility of Russia returning to the F1 world championship in the future:
“I don’t miss Formula One at all. They left and we had the opportunity to organise our own races, which we did. Everyone won.”
Battling away in the Imola spray ☔️
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 16, 2023
The contract between Formula 1, the organiser of the F1 world championship, and Russia ran until 2025. From 2023 onwards, the Grand Prix was to be held on the new track called Igora Drive on the outskirts of St Petersburg.
Designed by Hermann Tilke, the Autodrom Igora Drive was intended to replace Sochi, which has hosted F1 every year since it joined the calendar in 2014 on the site where the Winter Olympics were held in the same year.
The venue had been granted Grade 1 status by the FIA for the end of 2020, making it only the second Russian venue that could host a Formula One Grand Prix.