Sochi track warms up for Russian F1 Grand Prix (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
“The planning phase is completed, the opening and closing script are ready. The track is ready. The feedback of drivers is only positive. The track is interesting and works under any weather conditions. During a heavy shower, the track and all its services worked and interacted well,” Sergey Vorobyov, one of the race organizers told Interfax.
After hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics, the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi decided to try its hand at Formula One. This October, it will become the first Russian city to stage a F1 Grand Prix, which Vorobyov says will happen under any weather conditions as “the track and the drainage system work well in the rain.”
During the seventh stage of the Russian circuit racing series taking place in Sochi on September 13 and 14, the hosts will “search for those places [on the track] that need to be improved,” the organizers noted.
The 2014 Russian Grand Prix will take place on October 12, comprising the 16th round of the Formula One World Championship. It will be held at the Sochi Autodrom, a brand new 55,000-capacity venue built near the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Krasnodar region. In August, FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting inspected the circuit and gave his final blessing.
Russia's history as the latest host of a Grand Prix began when a contract was signed between race promoters OJSC Center Omega and the Formula One group of companies, with the support of the Russian government. Under the 2010 deal the contract provides for racing cooperation until 2020, with the possibility of extension.
German engineer and auto racer Hermann Tilke was tasked with constructing the state of the art 5.853 kilometer track integrated into the Olympic Park infrastructure. The track also boasts the latest sports and recreation facilities which connect it toSochi International Airport.
The track width is 13 meters at its narrowest point and 15 meters at the start-finish line. The circuit consists of 12 right- and six left-hand corners and runs in a clockwise direction. The track combines both high-speed and technical sections and can handle speeds of 320 km/h on the 650-metre straight shot of the track. The average lap speed, the organizers say should be 215 km/h.
“The circuit is going to be very fast and technical and offers a number of interesting features,” Tilke said earlier. “It is a fantastic facility with a great atmosphere and it will be outstanding as the circuit will run through the Olympic Park. I am very optimistic about the future of the unique racing track in Sochi, and am looking forward to a triumphant start to Formula One racing in Russia.”
Current and a four-time Formula One World Champion, Sebastian Vettel, became the first F1 pilot to drive at the Sochi Autodrom in August. After a tour of the venue's facilities, the racer completed a number of high speed laps in an Infiniti road car.
“Having driven the full circuit for the first time in the Infiniti Q50 today, it's an interesting layout with a good mix of high speed corners and technical sections,” Vettel said at the time. “It's going to be a huge challenge in a Formula One car for sure and I'm really looking forward to coming back in October.”