A circuit close to St Petersburg is capable of hosting the Russian Grand Prix according to the track’s architect, Hermann Tilke, referring to the new Igora Drive circuit that will host a round of the DTM series next year.

Igora is located two hours from St Petersburg, linking it with recent rumours that the Russian GP could be relocated from its current venue at Sochi.

“Concerning Formula 1, we did not conduct any negotiations,” track boss Vladimir Vasiliev said last week.

However, renowned F1 circuit designer Tilke says Igora “is certainly capable of hosting Formula 1”.

“I can’t say anything concrete, because a lot of politics is woven into it,” he told the Russian news agency Tass. “A lot of different interests collide. But Igora Drive is an amazing project. It is one of our best tracks.”

The German acknowledged that the scenery at Sochi, where the current Russian race is currently held was also designed by Tilke, is more spectacular than Igora Drive.

“There are no mountains as high as in Sochi. But it is close to St Petersburg – all the beauty is there,” Tilke said. “The uniqueness of the track in St Petersburg is the configuration, with fast corners and elevation changes and the possibility for a lot of overtaking.”

RacingCircuits.info report that the facility boasts “an FIA Grade 1 circuit with multiple layout variations, alongside karting, motocross, rally, ring and winter driving courses and conference facilities, it is a massive undertaking which could transform motorsport in the surrounding area.

“Little detail has been released about the project, which remains relatively unheard of outside of Russia, which is somewhat surprising given its scale. One of the largest investors in the project is billionaire Yury Kovalchuk, the main owner of the Rossiya Bank and a close ally of President Putin.

“It forms part of a wider sporting complex which includes the Igora Ski Resort, reportedly a favourite winter location for the Russian president.

“According to Business Petersburg, the Igora track has cost about 11 billion rubles ($192 million), though it is not known how accurate that figure may be. Nonetheless, it does look set to be a lavish complex, with Hermann Tilke employed to design the whole facility, complete with trademark ‘statement’ architecture.

“FIA President Jean Todt visited the construction site in December 2018, prompting immediate speculation that it could be set to host a Russian Formula 1 race, though that appears to be premature, especially given the relatively modest local infrastructure surrounding the circuit when compared with Sochi.

“Nevertheless, with big plans to expand the local amenities, this could still prove a contender for a future F1 race when the contract with Sochi finishes in 2025.

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