By Duncan Mackay in Sochi
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

June 9 - Sochi hopes to follow hosting the 2014 Olympics and Paralympics by staging Russia's first-ever Formula One Grand Prix, the city's Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov confirmed to insidethegames today.

They have moved into poll position among several Russian cities who were bidding to host the race, which has been earmarked for the autumn in 2014.

Pakhomov and other Russian officials are currently discussing the final details with Bernie Ecclestone, the chief executive of Formula One, but a $200 million (£137 million) circuit at Imeretinskaya Valley, close to the Olympic Park currently being built for the 2014 Games, has been earmarked to stage the race.

The details of the proposed route are still sketchy but Hermann Tilke, Formula One's circuit designer, has already visited the city and is now designing an early draft.

Pakhomov told insidethegames: "The architect of Formula One is choosing the route."

The event, along with the Olympics and Paralympics, is part of a long-term strategy to establish the Black Sea resort as a major international tourist centre.

Pakhomov said: "After the Olympics we will have different events, different children's festivals, Formula One and so on.

"The main aim is to attract tourists, to attract people to come here."

Sochi's ambitious plan is being supported by the Government.

Yuri Reilyan, the Deputy Regional Development Minister, is confident that a final deal will be agreed in the next few months.

He said: "He [Ecclestone] suggests holding the first Grand Prix in autumn 2014.

"It's too early to speak about the budget.

"The final project is yet to be worked out, it will be done by an organisation committee to be established by the end of this year."

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