By Daniel Etchells

Sergei Vorobyev (left), deputy general director of Russian Grand Prix promoters Omega Centre, speaks with Parth Kalke (right), a RIOU MSA student ©RIOUStudents from the Russian International Olympic University (RIOU) who participated in an innovative observation programme at this year's inaugural Formula One Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, an important part of the city's Winter Olympic Games legacy, met with key officials from the Autodrom race circuit to engage in an official debrief last week.

During the debrief, entitled "Sochi. Formula One: new speed of development", the RIOU students on the master of sport administration (MSA) course spoke with Formula One organisers, including Sergei Vorobyev, deputy general director of Russian Grand Prix promoters Omega Centre, and Richard Cregan, consultant of the Russian Grand Prix and one of the most experienced managers in Formula One, about their experiences.

The discussion touched on various themes, such as Formula One's long-term marketing strategy, navigation and logistics, future use of the racing circuit, planned social projects, and the possibility of creating a mascot for Sochi Autodrom.

The observation programme, jointly designed by RIOU professors and Sochi Autodrom specialists, provided the RIOU students with invaluable behind-the-scene insights and practical knowledge of the management and marketing of sporting events.

"The experience that the RIOU students gained at the Russian Grand Prix is indeed unique for Russia; it's an essential part of the non-material legacy of the world's top motor race," said Vorobyev.

"The meeting gave us an excellent feedback on our work from the future sports industry professionals, and this will help us make the 2015 Russian Grand Prix even more exciting and convenient for all client groups."

RIOU Rector Professor, Lev Belousov, added: "Interaction with expert managers during the preparations for, and delivery of, the race allowed our students to experience the scale of operations that high profile events involve.

"Through collaborative work with the Omega Centre, our University is fulfilling the vital task of training effective managers for the Russian and global sports industry, based on close cooperation with employment organisations and industry demands."

The inaugural Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom took place last month ©Getty ImagesThe inaugural Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom took place last month
©Getty Images

The observation programme was organised under the cooperation agreement signed between RIOU and Omega Centre in September 2014.

The agreement allows for the creation of a joint platform for research and education and the development of innovative experiences in event organisation.

The outcome of these initiatives is the provision of effective hands-on training for RIOU students.

"The Formula One debrief meeting was a real learning experience for us as future sports managers, as was the whole Formula One internship programme organised by RIOU," added Parth Kalke, an MSA student from India who took part in the programme.

"It was our first practical training at a sporting event and it let us see the mechanics of sports event management from the inside and opened the doors for us to an exciting sports world which we'll enter after graduation."

The findings produced by RIOU students may provide valuable material for a wide-ranging publishing programme, which will present the Formula One Russian Grand Prix as a powerful tool for regional development and the improvement of Russian sport nationwide.

The meeting is expected to lead to the development of special projects to promote Formula One races in Russia and the implementation of joint volunteer and research programmes.