Russia’s hopes of holding its inaugural grand prix next year may rest on officials being able to convince the FIA its application was lodged late due to ‘force majeure’.
Due to a conflict between race organiser Omega and the Russian automobile federation (RAF), the July 31 deadline for the official 2014 application to be lodged to F1’s governing body was missed.
An email to RAF from the FIA has emerged, in which RAF is told the deadline must be respected “except in the case of force majeure”.
But a FIA spokeswoman told the Ria Novosti news agency that missing the deadline does not necessarily mean the Russian grand prix will not be held.
Indeed, RAF executive director Sergei Ivanov confirmed that the application will be filed “in the force majeure format … as soon as the promoter fulfils its obligations”.
According to RAF’s vice president Igor Yermilin, however, it will be up to the FIA whether the late application is accepted.
“Of course it (the reason for missing the deadline) is not force majeure,” he told Russia’s f1news.ru. “This is our internal problem.
“But, most of all, there will not be very serious difficulties with the inclusion of the race in the calendar, because the Russian grand prix is important for everybody, from the country’s leadership to the fans.
“What is important is that the promoter understands that the grand prix is not something that can be put together in two weeks, but that it is an enormous task.
“The main problem, in my opinion, is a lack of understanding of the enormity of the project.
“However, I am more than optimistic. The only problem is that time is running out.”
For example, Yermilin said senior personnel of the Russian grand prix were scheduled to travel to Spa, Monza and Singapore for specific training.
And FIA personnel were scheduled to travel to Sochi for crucial meetings regarding the race, including safety and medical procedures.
“But today,” he said, “without a contract with the promoter, the Russian automobile federation formally has nothing to do with the grand prix of Russia,” he said.
© RIF | GMM