Bernie praises Putin for Sochi success


Bernie Ecclestone enjoyed a prominent presence and a front-row seat alongside President Valdimir Putin at last weekend's Russian Grand Prix at Sochi.

The 86-year-old 'chairman emeritus' of  The Formula One Group, who paid his first 2017 visit to the F1 paddock in Bahrain, credited Putin for the success of the Sochi venue since its debut on the F1 calendar in 2014.

"I remember when I first came here and I was discouraged," Ecclestone said.

"I was not completely sure Russia would be able to build such a great track, but I relaxed after the guarantees given to me by Vladimir Putin.

"I know that your president only takes informed decisions.

"He will be remembered as a great president, who does a lot for his country and for world peace," Ecclestone said.

While obviously no longer involved in the event's future, Ecclestone did confirm however that F1's original idea of making the Russian GP a night race has been shelved.

"We had the idea but I don't know if it's worth it," said F1's former boss.

"The TV pictures from Sochi in the afternoon are wonderful and everything is organised at a very high level, so there's no need to change."

Gallery: All the action from Sunday in Sochi

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