Circuit name: Sochi Autodrom
First race: 2014
Sochi is not only Russia’s largest and most popular holiday resort, but it has now also emerged as one of the country’s top sporting destinations. The city hosted its first Formula One Grand Prix in 2014, followed by the 22nd Olympic Winter Games and 11th Paralympic Winter Games. It has also been a host city for the 2018 FIFA Football World Cup.
Nicknamed ‘the summer capital of Russia’, the city of Sochi often has more than 200 days of sunshine a year and is characterised by a unique blend of beautiful scenery, the warm azure waters of the Black Sea and high mountains of the Caucasus, all of which will provide a distinct and spectacular setting for the Grand Prix.
The 5.848-kilometre circuit is located within Sochi’s dazzling Olympic Park and winds its way around many of the architecturally eye-catching venues that were built for the Games.
“It’s an interesting layout with a good mix of high-speed corners and technical sections,” he said. “It’s a huge challenge in a Formula One car.”
2017 Valtteri Bottas
2016 Nico Rosberg
2015 Lewis Hamilton
2014 Lewis Hamilton
The inaugural Russian Grand Prix took place eight months after the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The 5.848km/3.634-mile street track passes alongside the Olympic Village, making it the third circuit on this year’s calendar to incorporate a former Olympic venue, along with the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (Montreal ’76) and the Circuit de Catalunya (Barcelona ’92).
What makes the race special?
It was a long time in the making. Former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone first tried to stage a Russian Grand Prix in 1983, but it took the 2014 Winter Olympics to act as the catalyst for the race finally taking place.
Bet you never knew…
Two non-championship Russian Grands Prix were staged in St Petersburg before the First World War, in 1913 and ’14.
The 2015 Russian Grand Prix weekend got underway in bizarre circumstances, when a track sweeper spilled diesel at Turns Seven, Eight, Nine and 10 on Thursday evening. The problem wasn’t discovered until Friday morning, resulting in the first practice session being shortened by 30 minutes while the mess was tidied up.
What we love
The scenery. The track is situated between the banks of the Black Sea and the Caucasus Mountains. Whichever way you look, there’s a dramatic backdrop.