- © RIA Novosti. Ruslan Krivobok
© RIA Novosti. Ruslan Krivobok
MOSCOW, August 1 (R-Sport) - The Russian Automobile Federation released private correspondence with Formula One's governing body the FIA on Thursday showing that the country has missed the deadline to apply for a Grand Prix in Sochi next year.
President Vladimir Putin oversaw the inking of a contract with Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone in 2010 to hold races around the Olympic Park in the southern Russian city from 2014 through 2020.
But according to a purported email sent by FIA to the Russian Automobile Federation and distributed as a press release, the application will only be accepted if exceptional circumstances are found to have played a role.
"We kindly ask you to submit your requests for all events as soon as possible, and no later than 31 July 2013, except in the case of force majeure," an email dated June 7 from an FIA official identified as Fabian Coulon said.
In a conversation with R-Sport on Wednesday, an FIA spokeswoman refused to confirm that that day was a deadline and would not comment on the consequences for missing it.
She only noted that a failure to apply more than a year in advance would not necessarily damage an event’s chances of being admitted.
The reason for the hold-up in applying is a legal dispute between the Russian Automobile Federation and Omega Center, the race promoter and track builder.
The RAF is refusing to submit the application until Omega accepts liability for costs associated with the 700-800 personnel required to staff the race such as marshals and security.
The body remained confident, however, that it would get onto the 2014 F1 calendar.
"The RAF will include the Russian Grand Prix in the FIA calender in the 'force majuere' format that is provided for by the FIA as soon as the promoter fulfills its obligations," it said in a note accompanying the email and signed by Sergei Ivanov, the RAF's executive director.
Next year's race calendar is to be announced in September, the FIA told R-Sport.