Russian Grand Prix organisers happy with progress

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: The organisers of the inaugural Russian Grand Prix, planned for 2014, say the track is on schuedule.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Formula Sochi (Facebook)

The Facebook page for the 2014 Russian Grand Prix at Sochi has been updated with a new image of the track. The organisers say good progress is being made with the track.

New simulator won’t change things – Raikkonen (ESPN)

“I’ve never been a big fan of those and you never get as close to what real driving on the circuit is.”

Red Bull’s ‘heroic spirit’ key to 2012 win (Autosport)

Christian Horner: “The personal sacrifices the time that’s given up away from home away from family and friends, particularly in Milton Keynes has been just remarkable.”

Never forgotten… (Peter Windsor)

Margherita Bandini: “Lorenzo, you told me once that you felt you were born unlucky. Of course you were right, with the benefit of hindsight, but in your 31 years you became a great man with your modesty, your determination and your enthusiasm for a sport you loved more than anything in the world; and you have left for us an indelible memory.”

Comment of the day

Mo on why he believes Sebastian Vettel’s efforts have been undervalued:

The only title he won easily was the 2011 one. This season hasn’t been easy at all, and in 2010 he didn’t lead the championship until the very last moment. How is that easy? Yes, the Red Bulls have been fast, but you still need to go out there and deliver as a driver.

Look at Mark Webber, even when Red Bull was at its best, he only got third place. Just because the Red Bull is a championship-winning car, doesn’t mean it’s a championship-cinning car in the hands of every driver. It still has certain characteristics that fit some drivers and don’t fit others. In 2011 that all came together perfectly, in 2012 it didn’t for the most part.

I do agree that he needs to mature some. If things aren’t going his way he tends to start moaning or make mistakes. He’d be an even better driver if he could get rid of that.

I’m sure people would love to see a driver win a drivers’ championship in an inferior car. Except that’s not going to happen, even if Alonso had become world champion, the Ferrari wasn’t that bad. What it lacked for qualifying pace (which might be setup related) it made up for race pace and reliability.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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38 comments on “Russian Grand Prix organisers happy with progress”

  1. Keith, take a day off!

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      27th December 2012, 1:05

      +1, he never stops, he is THE F1 Fanatic

      1. Then we will all have to have a life as well… sorry Keith don´t go on vacation please

      2. Although I’d love it for Keith to take a holiday, I guess this is why this site is hands-down the best web resource on Formula 1 – good-quality articles added every day, no excuses, no blank patches.

    2. I’m pretty sure Keith knows how to have a day off (or more) and still having this site properly updated.

      So everybody happy!

      1. Very much true!

  2. Sochi is looking good – no unnecessary twisty bits, and plenty of opportunities for racing cars to be racing cars and stretch their legs.

    1. Agreed. I don’t like the look of the last 2 corners, but the rest looks great. Especially that Turn 2, I love new unique corners coming into F1

      1. The only real disappointment for me is the third turn. It was originally going to be a fast right-hand kink, but it’s been slowed down considerably to become a ninety-degree right.

        I don’t really have a problem with the last sector, either.

        1. Admittedly I’m no F1 track expert – but the circuit does not exactly look “flowing” like Austin for example, or the greater classic tracks – sure it doesn’t have boring technical bits – but none of the turns look particularly challenging for the drivers – too many 90-deg bends and no great variety of corners.

          1. Monza doesn’t have a “flow” to it; the three chicanes break it up. Otherwise, it’s just long straights that connect the corners. It’s still considered a great circuit.

          2. @prisoner-monkeys Monza is unique, the only real low-drag track in the calendar. And there are some nice turns like Grand Curve, Lesmo Curve and Parabolic Curve. Ascari is probably the king of all chicanes too. Add that to the history of the track and the ambiance consisting of leagues of roaring Tifosi, and you have a classic race.

          3. Yes, that’s true. It is rather its history and its character, which lends it its label ‘great’.

          4. Aditya Banerjee (@chicanef1 to be fair you need to give it 30-40 years so it has a chance to make a history for itself.

          5. @infy I’m only defending Monza, I’m not attacking Sochi.

    2. I don’t like it. Too many 90-or-so-degree corners, presumably with no camber and very little elevation change. Most of the fast kinks should be flat out to pose no challenge and the only interesting corner should be the 180-degree Turn 2, slightly reminiscent of the penultimate corner of Korea. T7 resembles Turn 19 in Abu Dhabi.

      Of course, I am not a track expert either, although I am an enthusiast, who is inherently interested in track layouts from 1907 to today and who believes he could more or less identify the ingredients of a challenging race track.

      1. @atticus-2

        presumably with no camber and very little elevation change

        Elevation is over-rated. Everyone points to it as being the defining trait that sets the great circuit apart from the mediocre circuits, and yet Silverstone is hailed as a terrific circuit and Yas Marina lambasted as a poor one. This is strange because Silverstone was once an RAF air base, and so has virutally no elevation. Meanwhile, Yas Marina has over thirty metres’ worth, and it is highly criticised.

        I am told that Sochi will have two unique features to it that are not immediately visible in the image posted. The first of these is that almost every corner will have a blind apex. And secondly, the entire Olympic precinct is custom-built for the Winter Games. The “coastal cluster”, as it is known, is home to the speed and figure skating, ice hockey and curling events. Most of these have their own venues, which will be used after the Olympics leave the city, and each one is temperature-controlled from a central location (with their own independent power supplies as a fail-safe). As a result, there will be a network of insular piping underneath the entire precinct, maintaining each of the venues at a constant low temperature. This means that when the race takes place, the circuit temperature will be significantly lower and considerably more stable than ay any other venue on the calendar.

        1. @prisoner-monkeys

          I see, thanks for the additional info about the temps and the blind apexes.

          Actually, I was almost sure the apexes will be blind – given that it will be a proper street circuit with walls presumably as close to the edge of the ribbon as possible, they are likely to hide apexes regularly. This will indeed be a challenge, it that respect similar to Valencia – though Valencia is not considered a good track despite this challenge. But it inevitably has this one. (I don’t think walls will be as close as in Monaco, safety requirements surely recommends open spaces like those in Valencia.)

          On the other hand, don’t underestimate elevation change. I agree that used improperly, they are not much fuss at all – e. g. if placed on straights, such as in India or in Texas. I even think the track owners decidedly exploited that one-dimensional ‘elevation change is automatically a challenge’ assumption of the less informed media and people, incorporated them on straights and hoped the media will present their track as ‘challenging because of the drastic elevation changes.’ Yeah, sure…

          But placed properly, i. e. right before or in corners, such as at the Paddock Hill Bend, Sheene’s (or the old Dingle Dell Corner), T15 in India, etc., they provide a twofold challenge: (1) a blind apex, but yeah, close walls can substitute for it, and (2) more tricky braking zones, such as Mansfield at Cadwell Park.

          I don’t want to preach these things, because I’m sure you are aware of them as well, I just wanted to add depth to that line, you cited from my previous comment.

          In any case, thanks again on the additional infos about the track, the lowly track temps will surely be unusual and will make for some interesting tyre strategies and tyre heating techniques.

  3. Completely agree with the COTD here. And Kimi doesn’t like simulators? Can hardly say I’m surprised!

    1. @craig-o I really doubt many of the drivers like simulators. Specially considering they are the very only ones that can compare them with the real thing.

    2. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      27th December 2012, 1:08

      @craig-o Probably what he doesn’t like about his sim is that it has better steering than the actual car :P

    3. I also agree with COTD, I won´t argue that Vettel is the best, everyone is allowed to have his opionion on that one, but I think his titles are highly unrated, every driver champion has won in a good car and I don´t Mansell, Mika,etc. championships being challanged for dirving a good car.

      And the F2012 wasn´t that bad.

      1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        27th December 2012, 2:28

        +1 @celeste, 2010 and 2012 his 2 best championships, how to underrate that? some people just close eyes to his talent

      2. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
        27th December 2012, 4:04

        +1 as well. Even with the best tools, it takes a good workman like Vettel to extract the maximum performance out of them.

  4. Will F1 slowly move away from Europe with the onset of Bernie/CVC trying to capture the emerging economies ?

    I can already see a return to Africa for example. I would not be surprised if F1 goes to Nigeria in our lifetime.

    1. @ideepak No that won’t happen. By emerging economies I don’t think Bernie has got an African country in mind. Before he goes to Africa, he’ll ensure that Asia has got five more races, at least.

    2. They need to focus on having races in places that are accessible to people on all continents, otherwise it just cant be considered a world championship.

  5. And the award for the least Christmassy teams should go to Force India and Caterham. When will they announce their driver lineup? I have a funny feeling Force India will not do so before the scheduled launch of the VJM06 on the 1st of February. And I have a sneaky suspicion that Caterham will follow suit too.

  6. I want to make clear at the outset that I think that Vettel is a worthy champion and has already established himself as an all-time great. However, I am becoming increasingly frustrated by the continual “F2012 wasn’t that bad” comments. Any performance deficit is difficult to overcome. It does not matter how poor the F2012 was, the fact remains it was a far slower car the the one Vettel drove this year. I therefore believe that Vettel did not extract the maximum from his package this year and is extremely fortunate to be in the position that he finds himself.

    I do not undervalue the many great drives from Vettel, but I find that, because he is usually in top machinery, that is most noticeable performances stem from when he has a sizeable advantage over his rivals.

  7. One final note on Vettel’s performance and the COTD.

    One might argue that Alonso did things in the F2012 out of this world to drag it to places where it did not belong. Australia, Malaysia, Germany, Italy were among the best.

    But one can approach the value of a championship from the point of view of opportunities. Clearly, Alonso and the team made the utmost of its opportunities when the car was not the best. Vettel may have not and he did not have the kind of otherworldly performances, when he did not have the best car. However, both Vettel and Alonso clearly had the best car on a couplr of occasions – not many, though, which might be clear to see in the case of Alonso, but less so in the case of Vettel. Alonso had the dominant car in Canada and Italy (Monaco?). Vettel had it only in Valencia, Japan, Korea and India (Bahrain?). Alonso also had nearly the best in Spain. All in all, one can easily see that the difference between Vettel and Alonso making the most of their respective opportunities came when they had the best car.

    Very very simply put, Vettel seemingly effortlessly took his opportunities on those rare occasions, when he had the best car, while Alonso (or the team) did not. Strategy failed in Canada and the car failed in Italy.

    Also, this also underlines why the undervaluation of Vettel’s triumph is a somewhat flawed idea – Alonso lost his chances for victory due to the F2012’s inabilities during qualifications, but Vettel also often had quicker cars to overcome during most of the weekends, namely the McLarens.

    On a sidenote, from this and the fact that either Hamilton or Button had the best car on most of the other tracks, it is obvious that the McLaren team is the one which should elaborate on missed opportunities in the first place.

    1. @aticcus-2, this sort of judgement was a lot easier 50 years ago when F1 drivers competed in other classes, F2, open sports, and saloon cars, whether Vettels superiority is downforce dependent or whether he would be a champion in Nascar and LMS is something we probably will never know.

      1. @atticus-2, see above, should have done Latin.

      2. O.o You could put him in a golf tourney, see how that goes…. But if you are talking F1, then picking other classes seems irrelevant to me.

    2. On a sidenote, from this and the fact that either Hamilton or Button had the best car on most of the other tracks, it is obvious that the McLaren team is the one which should elaborate on missed opportunities in the first place.

      No, McLaren didn’t have the best car, because it had too many reliability problems (at least for Hamilton). It was the fastest, but not the best.

  8. Isn’t there anyone else to design a Formula 1 circuit? Why does Tilke have to draw the future of F1 corners? I want to see some fast tracks, and some nice overtaking corners. Not slow exit, long strait, medium entry corners..

    1. Because F1 isn’t run in a way that has it’s best interests at heart.

    2. Isn’t there anyone else to design a Formula 1 circuit?

      There are only a handful of design and engineering firms worldwide that specialise in circuit design. And all of them – even Tilke’s company – have other projects to work on. It’s not a particularly lucrative business; there’s not enough demand for new racing circuits for a firm to be able to construct them full-time. And of the few firms that do specialise in circuit design, Tilke has the most contacts. He also controls every step of the process, from the initial survey of the site (the first thing that gets done) through to overseeing the painting of the white lines around the finished circuit (the last thing that gets done).

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