The beleagured Renault F1 team to put its troubles to one side at the weekend and headed to Russia to drum up interest in a country which has been mooted as a possibility for a future race.
The squad’s F1 tenure hangs in the balance after it parted company with team principal Flavio Briatore and engineering guru Pat Symonds following accusations from former driver Nelson Piquet Jr that he was instructed to deliberately crash in last year’s Singapore Grand Prix.
That could mean the prospects for newly-appointed race driver Romain Grosjean and demonstration driver Adam Khan may be less than rosy.
But the pair pulled out all the stops to stage a spectacular display on the streets of the city of Sochi, which is located in the south-west of the country, and is due to host the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The team’s visit, made at the behest of telecoms sponsor MegaFon and the city government, coincided with the city’s hosting of an international investment forum.
Grosjean and Khan drove their cars along a specially-created one-kilometre circuit close to the Sea Port with some journalists and forum guests getting a passenger ride in the team’s two- and three-seater F1 cars.
In addition to the on-track displays, fans had the chance to experience a special Formula One simulator to try and match the lap times set by Romain and Adam.
There was also a BATAK training wall allowing the public to compare their reaction times with those of the team’s drivers.
Following the event, Grosjean said: “Coming to Sochi has been a wonderful experience. It’s a great city and the people here have given us such a warm welcome and are really enthusiastic about Formula One.”
Khan added: “Driving a Formula One car is always a special experience, but to do it on the streets of a city is even more exciting. This event gave a lot of fans in Sochi their first chance to see a Formula One car up close so I hope that they enjoyed the show!”