• Russian Grand Prix

Ecclestone: No concerns over Russian Grand Prix

ESPN Staff
July 22, 2014 « Young drivers need to calm down - Massa | Vettel blamed for poor Hockenheim turnout »
© Getty Images

Bernie Ecclestone has no concerns about the Russian Grand Prix going ahead in October despite the recent MH17 disaster.

Ukraine has accused pro-Russian separatists of shooting down the Malaysian Airlines plane on July 17, killing all 298 people on board. The links between the rebel group and Vladimir Putin's government have come under heavy scrutiny and condemnation since the tragedy, with UK prime minister David Cameron among the international leaders calling for sanctions against Russia.

F1 controversially went to Bahrain in 2012 amidst concerns about the nation's human rights record, with Ecclestone always insisting that motor sport should not be affected by politics. In light of the recent MH17 disaster Ecclestone has reiterated that belief.

"I don't see any problems with that," Ecclestone told F1 journalist Adam Cooper's blog when asked about concerns about sponsors - notably Mercedes' Malaysian backers Petronas. "Were they [Russia] in the World Cup or not? You would have thought people would have tried to stop it, wouldn't you? Like I've said, we don't get involved in politics. We have a contract with them, which we know they will respect. And we will do the same."

Sochi will be particularly sensitive due to the close associations the city and Winter Olympic venue has with Putin.

When asked if Putin's close involvement with the Sochi site would draw unwanted attention to F1, Ecclestone said: "Not as far as I'm concerned, personally. We shouldn't speculate as to what could happen. We will honour our contract. Mr Putin personally has been very supportive and very helpful, and we will do the same."