Spain, Spa, France, Canada and Russia – race rumors

UPDATE Politics threaten to create "serious delays" in preparations for Formula One's first Russian Grand Prix, an adviser with the Russian Automobile Federation told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.

Igor Yermilin insisted that the project is not at risk of collapse and that Russia will deliver the race, scheduled to be held in the Sochi Olympic Park in 2014, a matter of months after the Winter Games.

Very little construction work has been carried out since March after a reshuffle the government of Sochi's region of Krasnodar, Yermilin said.

Among those to lose their positions were representatives of a company named Omega, which is responsible for the Formula One track project, he said.

"In the Krasnodar region there has been have been quite serious changes in the leadership," Yermilin said.

Regional governor Alexander Tkachev has been re-appointed, "but the entire rest of the team has changed, including people from Omega who signed the contract on holding the Russian Grand Prix," he said.

In October 2010, Omega chief Mikhail Kapirulin signed an agreement with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone on staging the Russian Grand Prix for six years through 2020, in the presence of then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

"As soon as a Krasnodar government is appointed, they will return to this question" of preparing for the Grand Prix, Yermilin said.

"The main thing at the moment is the Olympics, the Grand Prix is on the back burner. Although there may be serious delays in meeting preparation deadlines," he said.

Ultimately, Yermilin said he was confident the project would succeed.

"I have no doubts that this event will be held successfully. Our country has never failed in delivering such big international events, nor has it neglected its obligations. Especially considering Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has become our president."

Putin won a third term in March elections.

05/13/12 (GMM) Valencia will not be on next year's F1 calendar, Bernie Ecclestone said on Saturday.

He confirmed that, starting in 2013, an annually alternating deal between the Spanish port city and Barcelona will begin.

Barcelona, the scene of this weekend's Spanish grand prix, will host the race in 2013, before Valencia returns to the schedule in 2014, the F1 chief executive told Reuters.

Less secure, meanwhile, is France's touted spot on the 2013 calendar, particularly with the country's new anti-F1 president Francois Hollande now taking power.

Until recently, the F1 chief executive was saying Paul Ricard was set to join the 2013 calendar, annually alternating a race date with Belgium's Spa Francorchamps.

As for the state of the deal now, the 81-year-old admitted: "I have no idea. No idea what they (France) are doing.

"It's a funny arrangement they were making anyway. So I just don't know."

Ecclestone is also working on a new deal for the popular Canadian grand prix, having told promoter Francois Dumontier that the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve needs to be upgraded.

"There are two ways of looking at it," Dumontier, in the paddock of the Circuit de Catalunya, is quoted by La Presse newspaper.

"Either Bernie requires an annual fee windfall, or he will charge a reasonable fee and ask in return for investment in the infrastructure."

He said the contract on the table is for 10 more years, taking Montreal's existing deal through 2024.

Ecclestone said on Saturday that he is sure an agreement will be reached, because Canada is one of F1's most loved destinations.

"I remember saying to Bernie, 'New York, Austin, I don't know why you want to go there. Your sure bet is Montreal'. He knows that.

"He's been in Montreal for 34 years. And in the 22 years of the grands prix in the United States, they've had eight different cities.

"He said 'You're right'," added Dumontier.

Another rumor, repeated by The Times' Kevin Eason on Saturday, is that the planned 2014 Russian grand prix in Sochi "is doomed".

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