Bernie Ecclestone meets with Vladimir Putin to discuss Russian GP

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Earlier today, Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone and Russian president Vladimir Putin met to discuss this fall’s Russian Grand Prix, which will take place at the Sochi Olympic Park.

Putin acknowledged that work remains to be done to get the Sochi street circuit and its facilities ready to go for F1, but told Ecclestone that the Grand Prix is still on track.

“We will overcome [those issues],” Putin told Ecclestone according to AFP.

“It is very pleasing for me that the project is going to be a bright, beautiful addition to what was done in the preparations for the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games.

“…We have been working on the project to bring Formula One to Sochi for a long time and it is moving to its full conclusion.”

The circuit is a 3.6-mile course that is being created around the venues of the Sochi Olympics/Paralympics’ “Coastal Cluster.”

CNBC recently got a brief look of the new track, which Russian officials surely hope will help them keep the Sochi Olympic Park from falling into “white elephant” status like other past Olympic venues have.

The Russian GP is set to take place on Oct. 10-12, 2014 as the 17th race on this year’s 19-race F1 World Championship calendar.

Brown: Dennis would have made same decision on McLaren-Honda split

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Zak Brown believes former McLaren team boss Ron Dennis would have made the same decision to cut ties with struggling Formula 1 engine partner Honda had he still been in charge at the team in 2017.

McLaren executive director Brown helped engineer a deal for the team to split with Honda at the end of the 2017 season after three tough seasons that had seen the Japanese manufacturer offer little in the way of performance or reliability.

The decision split opinion, with McLaren spurning a significant annual financial injection from Honda in order to link up with Renault, believing its on-track fortunes had to be prioritized over its commercial interests.

In an interview with Sky Sports, Brown was asked if he believed Dennis – McLaren’s long-running team chief before stepping down at the end of 2016 – would have made the same decision to cut ties with Honda.

“I think he would have,” Brown said.

“He was here when those conversations were ongoing and I think Ron always has and always will have the best interests of McLaren in his heart.

“He is Mr. McLaren. It burns him inside as much as us not to see us winning races.”

Brown also elaborated on the decision to break off the much-lauded relationship with Honda, saying the first signs of trouble with the 2017 power unit were clear in pre-season.

After a number of attempts to try and rectify the situation, Brown and his fellow team bosses felt there was no alternative but to end the Honda deal for 2018.

“We knew we were in trouble in testing in Barcelona and we worked really hard for six months to try and find solutions that would give us confidence that we’d be much more competitive in 2018,” Brown said.

“Ultimately, after trying many different things and many different ways we felt we couldn’t get there.

“Three years is a long time in Formula 1 and so we needed to change the direction to get our team back at the top.”