Moscow still hoping for F1 action

MOSCOW: Moscow still hopes to host a Russian Formula One Grand Prix despite the collapse of a deal last year, a top city official said on Thursday. 

“We're planning to build a top class circuit, good enough to host Formula One races, in the next couple of years and then hopefully we'll be able to stage the grand prix,” Moscow's first deputy mayor Valery Shantsev told Reuters. 

Bernie Ecclestone, who controls Formula One's commercial rights, has said he wants Russia on the calendar. 

He came to the Russian capital to sign a contract with mayor Yuri Luzhkov last year and had expected Moscow to host a race as early as 2004. 

But a deal was scuppered at the last minute when the two sides could not agree on a seven-year television contract, valued at around US$250 million. 

Luzhkov blamed Ecclestone for the failure to reach an agreement. 

“He wanted to keep all the rights for the event – ticketing, television, advertising – which would leave us with only engine smoke. That's why the negotiations failed,” the mayor said at the time. – Reuters 

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