Ecclestone Wants Russian Grand Prix Staged Against Backdrop Of Sochi Olympic Park
After the "five-ringed circus of the Winter Olympics packs up," the next big show in town will be F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone’s F1 "extravaganza," according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES. One reason Sochi’s vast Olympic Park has so many wide open spaces "is because that is where the track for the first Russian Grand Prix will be, already marked out by the concrete kerbs." Ecclestone "has spent years attempting to stage a Russian Grand Prix." The grand prix complex is 90% finished "and the pits and paddock area has been used over the past fortnight for Olympic administration." Organizers said that "it will be completed by the time of the race in October and already Ecclestone, ever the master showman, is planning a spectacle to capture the imagination." He "wants Sochi to stage a night race against the backdrop of the Olympic Stadium and ice rinks with their floodlit roofs." Ecclestone: "I think they would go for the idea. At night the stadiums are very colorful with lots of lights and the backdrop to a race would be fantastic." Ecclestone admitted that "there is some way to go." Ecclestone: "It was a bit of dump, quite honestly. But they have spent a lot of money and there is a lot going on and the place is changing all the time" (LONDON TIMES, 2/24). In London, Kevin Garside wrote Ecclestone went from a court case in which "his character was shredded by a judge" -- straight into the arms of Putin, "offering robust support for Russia’s antediluvian legislation on homosexuality." Ecclestone "is therefore an easy target to lampoon, and for the intelligentsia something to be removed from the bottom of their shoes." That is "OK because Ecclestone has nil regard for their sort, either." Intellect, learning, academic expertise "come way down the list of attributes he most admires." The Winter Olympics "was just one part of Russia’s Sochi-led assault on the geopolitical senses." F1 is the next element of the global soft-sell program "designed to fill our heads with positivity towards the new Russia." Ecclestone "has persuaded Putin that it is just what he needs to help create the sense that Russia is up to speed and at one with the rest of the world." There "is still plenty to do." That is what "Ecclestone’s arm around Putin was all about last week, protecting his interests, massaging relations, making sure the work is done on time." Ecclestone "did not get rich by accident" (INDEPENDENT, 2/24).