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Sochi Autodrom officials join RIOU students for F1 debrief

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RIOU students share insights from Russian Grand Prix observation programme.

Russian International Olympic University (RIOU) students on the international MSA (Master of Sport Administration) course met with key officials from Sochi Autodrom last week to engage in an official debrief following their participation in the innovative observation programme at the 2014 Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix.  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. 

During the debrief, entitled “Sochi. Formula 1: new speed of development”, the RIOU students spoke with F1 organisers, including Sergei Vorobyev, Deputy General Director of the Omega Centre and chief promoter of the Russian Grand Prix; and Richard Cregan, consultant of the Russian Grand Prix and one of the most experienced managers in F1, about their experiences. The discussion touched on various themes, such as F1’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. 
Commenting on the outcome of the meeting, Sergei Vorobyev said:  
“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. Today’s 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 Prof. 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 observation programme was organised under the Cooperation Agreement signed between RIOU and the 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.   

Sergei Vorobyev, chief promoter of the Russian Grand Prix, speaks with Parth Kalke, right, a RIOU MSA student from India.

Parth Kalke, an MSA student from India who took part in the programme added: 
“The F1 debrief meeting was a real learning experience for us as future sports managers, as was the whole F1 internship programme organised by RIOU. 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 1 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 F1 races in Russia and the implementation of joint volunteer and research programmes.  


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