The race was first held briefly in the 1910s in Saint Petersburg of the Russian Empire (the Russian Grand Prix was run twice, in 1913 and 1914 at a circuit in Saint Petersburg). Plans were made to host a Formula One event in Moscow for the 1983 season as the Grand Prix of the Soviet Union, these plans fell through. In 2010, it was officially announced that the Russian city of Sochi, which was also preparing to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, would host a new event on the Formula One calendar, beginning in 2014 under a seven-year deal.
Sochi Autodrom, Sochi
It made its debut on the calendar in 2014 and the race was not exactly a thriller. The 5.848 kilometre long circuit was built around the Sochi Olympic Park, featuring some of the sports venues for the 2014 Winter Olympics. The start line is near the railway station and then the circuit wends its way along a picturesque route past the Medals Plaza, home to the five ringed prize giving ceremonies. The final part is rather slow, with various right angle corners, which require pretty high downforce levels. This circuit, like many of the new generation, puts traction at a premium, highlighting the difficulties of those who don’t have it.
After this point, drivers can activate the DRS and try and pull some passing move.
The last sector
After the long pit straight comes the mixed part of the track, which is a real litmus test, highlighting which cars have the best aerodynamics.
Scuderia Ferrari has scored three podium finishes at the Sochi Autodrom, but has not won in Russia. After a disappointing 2014 season, Sebastian Vettel finished second in 2015, while Kimi Raikkonen was third the following year. Sebastian Vettel started the 2017 race from pole position, with his teammate Kimi Räikkönen in second in Ferrari’s first front-row start since the 2008 French Grand Prix, but unfortunately the Maranello team could not capitalize on the qualifying result and had to settle for second and third place at the end of the 2017 Russian Grand Prix.