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Bernie, Russia agree deal for 2014? UPDATE #6 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  Bernie Ecclestone is in Russia on Thursday for a ceremonial signing of a seven year formula one race contract.

Earlier, it emerged that Russian president Vladimir Putin has travelled to the resort city Sochi to approve the plans for a $200m circuit and to sign F1 chief executive Ecclestone's race promotion contract.

But the state owned Ria Novosti news agency, and the Vedomosti business daily, said 79-year-old Briton Ecclestone is also in Sochi for the signing.

Officials of the local Krasnodar Krai authorities confirmed the reports.

The inaugural race is slated for 2014.

10/14/10 According to reports emerging from Russia, later today FOM chief Bernie Ecclestone is set to announce a new agreement with Russia that will see them host a Grand Prix from 2014 in what is expected to be a seven year deal that will run through to 2020.

10/13/10 Russia is making a renewed bid to bring Formula One racing to Sochi with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone agreeing terms for a Grand Prix to be held in 2014, the same year the Black Sea resort hosts the Winter Olympics.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, whose backing was crucial in Sochi winning the right to host the Games, is due in the city on Thursday to sign an agreement for work to begin on the construction of a new 200 million dollar circuit.

Ecclestone told local media that after several rounds of negotiations with the Russian authorities the conditions for the contract have been agreed.

"The document has still not been signed but when the appropriate person from Russia signs it, I will sign it the next day," Ecclestone told Kommersant daily newspaper.

He said that the annual fee Russia would pay for hosting a Grand Prix would be comparable with that of around 40 million dollars paid by new Grand Prix hosts Singapore and Abu Dhabi.

However, racing fans should not hurry to book their tickets after Ecclestone pronounced similar sentiments in 2002 for a proposed Grand Prix in Moscow.

On March 22 that year, the Russian capital's ex-mayor Yury Luzhkov and the F1 boss were set to strike a deal while dozens of journalists came to Moscow's City Hall ready to immortalize the historic moment.

But the deal collapsed at the last minute after the two sides failed to agree financial terms.

"They want to sweep all the profits leaving us to pay all the expenses and stay happy with the smell of the petrol smog," said Luzhkov, who has since been sacked by President Dmitry Medvedev.

The project of showcasing Formula One at a completely new circuit in Sochi's Olympic Park has also raised questions over how Russia can jump from hosting virtually no races of importance to the biggest of them all.

"Staging the Formula One event in Russia in the existing conditions is a pure utopia," Russia's Formula Two pilot Ivan Samarin commented.

"We should build several circuits for staging the national racing series before starting the construction of a Formula One racing course."

Samarin added that Russia should also change its mentality and stop expecting an immediate profit from the investments into the project.

"The construction of the racing circuit is an investment into the future," he said. "The staging of a Formula One race raises the prestige of the entire country and attracts crowds of tourists, who are ready to pay for the show."

"But the investors should be ready to wait years before their investments start bringing profit." PlanetF1.com

08/23/10 Earlier this summer Vladimir Makarov, a close ally of Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov, said that Moscow is preparing plans for a street track, but much depends on next year’s mayoral election in which Luzhkov might be voted out of office, after 18 years in control of the city. He has been damaged by a number of corruption allegations.

For the last three years there has been a Formula 1 demonstration in Moscow, organized by the Dutch promoter Bavaria City Racing. This year the event claimed a crowd of 200,000.

There was also another project under discussion in Sochi, a celebrated Black Sea resort city, but the talks appear to have stalled as there was no money for the race. Having Vitaly Petrov in F1 will obviously help the situation, but there will not be a Russian Grand Prix until someone is willing to pay the bills. Joe Saward

07/19/10 (GMM)  Moscow has raced back into the running to host a Russian grand prix. A few days ago, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone said Russia "has got to go on the calendar.  We will do it the year after next in Sochi," the Briton told the Independent.

Ecclestone said earlier this year that up to three Russian venues are under consideration but that there is a "big push" from the resort city Sochi.

But as reigning world champion Jenson Button and Russian driver Vitaly Petrov demonstrated F1 cars in the Russian capital over the weekend, reports emerged from Moscow that the government has decided to stage a grand prix in 2012.

Moscow official Vladimir Makarov said Hermann Tilke will devise an ultra-fast street circuit with the Kremlin in the background.

"A city like Moscow deserves its own grand prix," said Derk Sauer, an official with the F1 demonstration organizers Bavaria City Racing.

"The contracts have not been signed yet, but a major step has been taken."

05/14/10 After visiting this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone will fly to Sochi, Russia, to meet with the possible organizers of the Russian Grand Prix. Ecclestone revealed the Russian Grand Prix could be added to F1's calendar as early as in 2013.

A Russian Grand Prix on the Formula 1 calendar is getting closer each day as Bernie Ecclestone will meet the Russian's next week. "The Russians are good people. They get on with things. It is a matter of whether it suits us or not. I have to have a look at it first," Ecclestone told The Telegraph about his visit to Russia.

Apart from Russia the Formula 1 circus might be visiting Rome for a street race too in the future. "Rome is moving forward. That is going to be good. It's a bit political, obviously. But Rome could be ready in 2013 and Russia about the same time," Ecclestone said.

04/15/10 Bernie Ecclestone has said Formula One is making “a big push” to have Grand Prix in the Russian city of Sochi, host of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Contracts to host Grand Prixs in some European cities are soon to run out and will not be renewed, Reuters reports.

"We've got two or three places in Russia which we're dealing with at the moment," Ecclestone told reporters before touring the circuit being built in South Korea that will host its first Formula One race this October. “There is a big push for us to do something with Sochi."

Ecclestone added that he was “absolutely sure” that the Korean circuit would be built on time for this year's race, following a report in a German magazine which claimed the designer of the circuit, Hermann Tilke, had expressed concerns it would not be ready.

"I've spoken to Tilke and he denies saying it." Ecclestone said.

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