IOC could postpone Sochi 2014 Formula One race

Updated: Jan 13, 2011, 14:52 PM IST

Lausanne: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) could postpone the 2014 Formula One Grand Prix in Sochi if it feels it will hamper preparations for the Winter Olympics there in the same year.

City officials have said the track would be ready well ahead of the Feb. 7-23 Olympics in the Black Sea resort but the IOC said on Tuesday it still had the legal power to postpone Russia`s first F1 race if it interfered with Games` preparations.

"We really looked carefully," Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli said after receiving a progress report on the Sochi Olympic preparations.

"It is good to have the F1 Grand Prix in Russia and Sochi. However we do not want to have the facility, built for the Grand Prix, to put construction or preparation for the Games at risk."

"When we learned the GP could be organised in 2014 we wanted to know if it is an issue. In the contract they (Russian race organisers) signed there is an escape that if the IOC decides it is not feasible then it could be rescheduled in 2015."

Asked who would decide the postponing of the race, Felli said: "It is the IOC."

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced the seven-year deal, worth reportedly more than USD 200 million, in October.

Sochi has been rushing to build most Olympic venues from scratch after being awarded the Games in 2007.

Felli said, however, that progress was on track with 70 percent of construction expected to be completed by the end of 2011.

"Some 40 percent of construction is finished and in 2011 70 percent will be finished," he said.

Bureau Report