Sochi International Street Circuit, 2014

Sochi track will be ‘fast and competitive’ – Whiting

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Sochi International Street Circuit, 2014In the round-up: FIA race director Charlie Whiting has high expectations for the Sochi street circuit which will hold Russia’s first grand prix later this year.


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Charlie Whiting: “I’m sure drivers will love the Russian Grand Prix (Sochi Autodrom)

“It will be a fast track, and I think it will be a really competitive track as there will be at least two or three places where drivers can overtake properly. I think that will be a very interesting track and a very spectacular race.”

Parry hungrier than ever to reach F1 after Silverstone experience (Bury Free Press)

“’I dream to be here and I dream to win here,’ said [Matt] Parry, who was a guest of the BRDC for the weekend. ‘I’ll be here in October in a McLaren F1 car for testing so it’s great to be here and see how the drivers are driving while also enjoying it as a spectator.'”

Hamilton is a decent human being but has a habit of presenting himself as a spoilt brat (Daily Mail)

“He seems to think that a few gushing Tweets can smooth over his sullenness, but I am not sure this is the case. Nor does the fact that he was perfectly well-behaved after his victory the next day, saying the right things, make up for his puerility when he is losing.”

Kate Walker: Piero Taruffi (Crash)

“So impacted was he by the incident that Taruffi wrote an imploring article entitled ‘Stop us before we kill again’, reflecting on the twin tragedies of that years Mille Miglia and the 1955 Le Mans disaster.”


Comment of the day

A bumper crop of suggestions for Friday’s Caption Competition included some great ones from Dom, Mahavir Shah, Spoutnik and GeeMac.

However I chose this one from Leejo as the best:

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2014

“All I see is Alonso’s gearbox!”

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Ryanmack09!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is via the contact form or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Williams claimed their first ever Formula One race win 35 years ago today in their home event at Silverstone.

They were heading for a one-two when leader Alan Jones dropped out with a broken water pump seal. That left Clay Regazzoni to seize the team’s first win – but Jones took victory in the next three.

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  • 90 comments on “Sochi track will be ‘fast and competitive’ – Whiting”

    1. So, since things have gone a bit quiet on the Ecclestone front, Todt isn’t the stirrer that Mosley was, hence we have Whiting saying silly things in between races now?

      Let’s be honest, a bunch of straights, a whole lot of slow corners and perhaps 3 normal corners do not make for what typically is a good racetrack.

      1. Typically, no, but lets wait until the proof is there. Give it at least 2 years to prove itself. You never know what the track characteristics could throw up.

        1. At least two years? I think we’ll be able to judge it fairly after its first Grand Prix weekend.

          1. No, because a green track has issues with grip due to the fresh, seepy tarmac. The second year often means its more mature and representative of the true race.

            Cases in point – India, Circuit of the Americas.

            1. I think the tarmac and lack of run-off will probably remain troublesome. I’m not entirely sure how far they’re going in re-paving the circuit, but the lack of racing on the track will surely mean the track will be a lot greener than most, even during later years.

              I’ll give it a shot, but I’m getting the same feeling I had when I saw the Abu Dhabi layout a couple of times before the first race there. Maybe this one will prove me wrong.

            2. You still get enough information from the first year to get a strong opinion. The look of a track is a big part of its character, and what it is like as a challenge or spectacle for cars over a flying lap. I expect this one to be a bit visually bland or bleak, with a not great layout- that preclude it from producing great races though- I still don’t like China, but it’s hard to argue that it hasn’t consistently provided good races over the last 5 years, and even Valencia had 1 good race.

            3. *I expect this one to be a bit visually bland or bleak, with a not great layout- that doesn’t necessairly preclude it from producing great races though

      2. I count 8 x 90 degree corners, hardly conducive to good “flow” but there are a couple of long bends to break up the “point and shoot” majority of the circuit, I will wait and see but expect the action to be more MAL/GUT than VET/ALO.

      3. pastaman (@)
        14th July 2014, 3:55

        Actually, if you zoom in a bit you will find there is a quite a good mix of corners and high-speed kinks, and the 90 degree turns will be approached at different speeds and momentum. Of course, we will all know for sure come race day.

        1. I don’t share your optimism @pastaman. By my count there are 11 90 degree corners.

          1. @geemac, as a non-pedant I agree with your count, but I expect we will hear from a few people wanting to split hairs.

            1. Granted there are some where they may be a smidge under 90 degrees (turn 6 for example) @hohum, but the fact remains there a lot of uninspiring corners on that track.

        2. Oh, I’ve zoomed in. But with the track limits not being in place, I think it’s pretty hard to tell how every corner can be approached, but I’m half-expecting Singapore/Valencia like corners, where you do end up with ‘different’ 90 degree corners, but you still can’t pass in any of them.

      4. Ok, let’s admit he’s being honest, but I just can’t help but wonder: would he still be honest if his opinion was the opposite of what he said?


    2. Well, if it’s dangerous, you wouldn’t even have the start of the race, would you?

      Yes Charlie, doing a grid start on tyres 30 laps old is identical to a grid start on brand new tyres. Y’know, apart from the fact that 30 laps is often near the end of the tyre’s life, greatly increasing the chances of failure, especially since they’ll have cooled while waiting for the grid to line up, further reducing grip.

      1. @raceprouk Yep.

        Something I heard somebody else say, is that races are supposed to have one start and one finish, not three starts and one finish.

        Talking of finish, any chance of a Finnish Grand Prix would be cool B)

        1. Literally, very cool.

          1. intermediates, wets, and SNOW tyres!

            1. @dr-jekyll I’d support that! Snow!

      2. i hear them saying that once red flagged the car can change to new tires without loosing grid positions, same as the did in Monaco couple of years ago, this will reduce the spectacle so what is the point of a grid start when you have lost the power to undercut, stupid rule…

      3. @raceprouk
        I would hate to see a race ( or championship)
        Decided by a dodgy restart ,
        Example scenario ,
        Lewis leads Max by 49 points in abu dbl
        . Pastor locks up after restart thinking the fastest way through the corner is over Lewis ,
        Champ leader out ?????

        To much coffee?

        1. Unfortunately, that’s racing – Maldonaldo has proven himself able to wipe out even the most talented competitor regardless of the situation.

        2. Do you think Lewis and Pastor would be so close at a restart that Maldo will crash with Lewis?? Lewis would be on the front grid,while Pastor would be somewhere in 7th row or below(or even retired before a particular re-start).. And Lewis couldn’t have such a bad start that he will slip from 1st to 14th on the start..

          1. Let’s be honest… Pastor is most likely the cause of the accident which resulted in the restart, anyway… So he probably is out of the race :P

            1. Karthik Venkatesan
              14th July 2014, 10:27

              Beat me to it!

          2. Karthik Venkatesan
            14th July 2014, 10:26

            Pastor might very well be the cause of the restart!

      4. Well everyone will know that a SC means standing start, so depending on where they are with tyres, they will put accordingly.

        I expect if SC goes out mid stint everyone will pit for fresh rubber. And a few will gamble on an old tyre restart. But everyone in top 10 will put, much like now.

      5. Such a silly quote. Motorsport itself is dangerous, and it’s still allowed to go ahead. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to control the amount of danger present- by and large, that’s his actual job!

      6. I highly doubt very many cars will attempt a restart on 30 lap old tires. They will pit for new ones the same as they would do if it was a safety car period followed by a rolling restart. I suspect that more cars will pit for new tires than currently do, because of the new restart method.

        1. And potentially lose 15 positions? I don’t think so.

          1. Yeah someone might lose 15 positions if others don’t pit, but they will be on old tires be getting passed quite quickly by those on new tires, and will have to pit soon anyway. ie. I think most of the key players will follow suit, just as they do currently. I envision that strategies will remain pretty much the same as now when a safety car comes out, but that in fact more cars will take advantage of the opportunity to pit, and therefore be on the same page as the front runners, making for fewer discrepancies in performance than there are now.

    3. There’s no mile-long straight or an unnecessarily twisty middle sector so I’m already looking at the Russian Grand Prix with more optimism than most of Tilke’s latest offerings. If nothing else, it’s different.

      It reminds me a bit of the Valencia street circuit, with its slow corners separated by short straights, and long straights that aren’t really that straight. Hopefully it will be more enjoyable than Valencia. It certainly can’t be any worse.

      1. @jackysteeg, “unnecessarily twisty middle sector” wash your mouth out with soap. A series of S bends or “twisty mid sector” is a challenge to seperate the truly gifted from the merely talented.

        1. I think you’re missing the distinction between ‘unnecessary’ and ‘unnecessarily’. Having a twisty section at the end of the Fuji lap probably wouldn’t be unnecessary, but most people seemed to agree that just how slow and twisty it was was a bit too much, rendering it unnecessarily twisty.

          1. Also see the old back-to-back hairpins from Indy.

      2. I think it looks awful. Far too many corners and they’re all too similar. Setting the car up should be less of a compromise, making it easier on the teams perhaps and maybe closing the field up, but if a team has a car that is particularly suited to the mid-speed 90degree ‘arrive-and-drive’ corner then it will have a big advantage. The big loop in the middle smacks of novelty. I doubt it will be a drivers’ circuit or a fans’ circuit. Looking back at similar tracks (Detroit, Phoenix, Valencia, Long Beach, Singapore…), you wouldn’t call them classics.

        1. I agree: the track is unnecessarily long. Bit like Valencia, it could be a much shorter track (for example, the layout could go from T4 straight to T10, removing four 90 degree bends). But as Valencia and Yas Marina have showed, it is pretty much impossible to judge a track before there has been some racing on it.

        2. @splittimes I disagree. There will have to be a compromise, because of turn 3. It’s an 800 meters long corner(at least that was the measurement mentioned), unprecedented in F1 I think. You cannot ignore that in your setup preparations. And the wear of the front-right will be beyond critical

          I’ll see the race first before I judge, even though I don’t like so many 90-deg corners

    4. Charlie Whiting “… in an interview to Sochi Autodrom’s press service.” is hardly likely to say anything derogatory. As for the bit about standing restarts, he claims in one answer that they are to make F1 more exciting but in another that it’s as exciting as ever. Then he calls anyone who says standing restarts are dangerous as ‘silly’ saying “Well, if it’s dangerous, you wouldn’t even have the start of the race, would you?” as if the start of a motor race is not dangerous!? A sorry case of Bernicus Disingenuous.

      1. @skylab, indeed, last week we were told that standing starts were the idea of 1 of the teams, today we learn Charlie Whiting “suggested” it. Obviously someone had briefed Charlie on saftey, his, in regard to being in any way critical of President Putins Russia.

      2. My hop is still alive. These folks will drop the pathetic standing restarts and find a way to limit the time under SC…

        1. I have yet to hear any person inside or outside F1 crying for rolling starts to F1 races. I think if they had made THAT decision there would be just as much outrage.

          1. Race starts can have different cars on different tire compounds ie. grip levels, and thats ok.

          2. Wet quali and races seem fine and even hoped for by most (not me ever) so it’s ok by most if the drivers are going around like they are on ice to ‘shake up the usual order of things’ and therefore on top of low grip levels have potentially mid to back field cars/drivers near the front for the start…and thats ok.

          3. Huge speed discrepancies via DRS are enjoyed by many…not me ever. So thats ok.

          4. Most drivers will as usual pit for fresh tires upon the issuing of a safety car period, probably moreso because of standing restarts.

          5. Whiting is not an idiot even if some disagree with him or if he can be just as political or diplomatic as the rest. If he says he cannot see the downside, and the teams have all agreed, the danger factor is obviously only a talking point for armchair fans and not in fact a concern for F1.

          6. Of course he is going to say F1 is exciting and will be even moreso with standing restarts. The fact is for non Merc or LH or NR fans the season is tough and viewership is still a concern for F1. To look to Whiting of all people to not try to put a positive spin on things is to look in the wrong place, so there should be no surprise there.

    5. Silly Season Alert
      I’ve been hearing a lot the last few days that Sutil’s sponsors are pulling out and he’s being replaced at Sauber, presumably by van der Garde…
      At the same time though the sites I’ve been shown have been dodgy in terms of sending me to that bit of the internet so I don’t really have any legit links…

      1. @turbotoaster

        I’ve been hearing a lot the last few days that Sutil’s sponsors are pulling out

        According to who?

      2. Dutch commentator Olav Mol now also mentioning the rumors.

        It’s worth noting Adrian Sutil has deactivated his Twitter account. The correlation is yet to be seen, though.

        1. maarten.f1 (@)
          14th July 2014, 10:37

          @npf1 Nick, it’s worth mentioning to the non-Dutch speakers, Olav is just mentioning he’s heard the rumors, and he’s going to ask around to see whether there’s any truth to it.

          1. @maarten-f1 Thanks, I’m more of a Facebook man myself, so I thought there’d be a translation available on the tweet. My mistake.

            Also worth noting that he has addressed someone about Frijns replacing Kobayashi, so he could just be trying to answer fan questions.

      3. Not to double post, but Sauber is resuming normal service on the PR front, saying Sutil is looking forward to the German GP.

    6. What’s with all people being hungry these days?!

      1. It’s that damn weight limit. :)
        They can’t afford to put any weight on. :)

      2. Too much football mate….speding too much time in the pub..havent got around to eating.

    7. I give Sochii 2 years… neither of which will feature an interesting race AT ALL !

      1. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s an announcement of either an expansion of the Moscow Raceway or a new track near Saint Petersburg right after the first race here. I can’t imagine this being a long time F1 venue, especially if they don’t widen the track and runoffs over time.

    8. Something else which could lead to more problems on a standing restart is if you have a situation where some cars pit & others don’t which leads to slow cars lining up towards the front.
      When you have very slow cars potentially on older tyres struggling to stay out the way of the fast guys coming back through on fresh tyres you have a recipe for problems.

      There are so many things wrong with the standing restart idea that im amazed anyone from inside F1 is defending them. Even people from the teams have defended the idea, Its just pathetic.

      F1 should be about racing, If some people don’t find proper racing interesting or exciting enough & therefore need silly artificial gimmicks to keep there interest then im sorry but they should just find something else to watch which suits there tastes better, They should certainly not be the one’s that F1 caters to.

      1. If those within F1 are defending the idea then that should tell you something. It’s only armchair fans that think it is too dangerous. I find standing restarts making far more sense than intentionally bad tires, DRS, and double points in terms of ‘silly artificial gimmicks’ and the fact that they start the race standing and there has never been a cry for rolling starts gives precedent to standing restarts ie. it’s not like standing starts is something new to F1, nor artificial, nor a gimmick. They do one every race, and now in some races they may do it again depending on if there is even a safety car period and depending on the timing of said period.

        1. @robbie There’s a big difference between standing starts on fresh tyres & cars in grid order & Standing restarts with drivers on new tyres, Some on old & some on different compounds at differing stages of wear.
          Not to mention the differences in ERS charge. At the start of the race everyone has fully charged ERS systems but Mid-race everyone will have there systems at differing stages of charge which will make a huge difference off the grid as ERS fully charged is worth 160bhp+.

          Also remember that Pirelli have expressed concern because there tyres are not designed to be put through multiple standing starts.

          A few years ago Indycar tried double file restarts & pretty much every time they did one later in the race it caused another accident so they have since dropped them & gone back to single file restarts.
          Nascar still do double file restarts & on road circuits late in the race you nearly always get more accidents & its the same story in other categories which have tried them. of accidents.

          At the start & through the 1st lap drivers tend to be a little cautious knowing theres a long way to go, But late in a race if you get drivers thinking this is there only chance to make up places (Especially if they have been stuck mid-pack for a while) they will be more aggressive & take more risks which will cause more problems in terms of accidents.

          The few teams i’ve heard talk about standing restarts may be more possible on them but there pretty much alone in that view so what does that tell you?
          It tells me that the vast majority of fans & media round F1 hate the idea which tells me that its just a bad idea that should not go ahead.

          I’m not one to usually say things like this but honestly if they go ahead with this & they have a negative impact on the races & they don’t drop it then I’ll just stop watching F1 all together because this is one gimmick too far for me, Especially if it does start hurting the races as I (And most of the drivers) fully believe it will.

          1. @PeterG I have a feeling that after a safety car period and a lineup on the grid the majority of the top players will be in a similar situation regarding tires and ERS, and if not, that is their and their teams’ decision and they are professional race drivers that will need to deal with the situation. So will Pirelli who I assume have also been brought into this discussion ahead of it being agreed that this is the direction F1 is going next year.

            So I’ll assume the tires will be ready for this. Keep in mind also that F1 has stated that the standing restarts will be used when appropriate. They won’t be used within a few laps of the actual start, nor within the last 5 laps, and I would suggest nor in the rain, nor would they be used so many times in a race that there would be a need to be concerned about the tires ability to handle that many restarts, and realistically how many safety car periods on average are there in the races. Many races have none.

            Indycar cars are spec cars that are so similar in performance I’m not surprised there were accidents, and there is no comparison to what we are talking about anyway since those were rolling restarts. And their tracks are often very tight and lined with walls. NASCAR is also different in that they are full body cars and famously bump and grind, especially on the rare road courses they run.

            Back to F1, the driver’s job on a restart later in the race will still be to first finish if he wants to finish first, so I think that rule will still apply mid-race as it does for the first start. Again, it is up to these professionals to deal with the situation. Unfortunately they have DRS to lean on, so won’t feel panicked to try to win the race in the first corner of a restart anyway. For me, without question, the standing restarts will be far far more exciting than rolling restarts.

            1. the standing restarts will be far far more exciting than rolling restarts

              and far less popular.
              the drivers dont want it & a hge majority of the fans don’t want it so f1 should not adopt it.

              lets be honest, nobody has ever asked for this rule change, virtually nobody wants this rule change, it along with double points later this year have turned me off watching f1 so brazil this year will likely be my final race.

              its been a fun 34 years but this artificial & gimmick ridden f1 is not the sport i fell in love with all those years ago & is certainly not the sort of thing i am interested in watching :(

              so thank you along with all the other so called fans & idiots in f1 who think artificial nonsence & stupid gimmicks is what people want to watch…. its no wonder worldwide tv figures are in freefall when they constantly introduce more & more gimmicks which virtually nobody wants to be brought in.

              utter idiots, maybe when only those few who love these gimmicks are watching with everyone else having turned off we will get our sport back with pure racing & no artificial gimmicks.


    9. Neil (@neilosjames)
      14th July 2014, 3:49

      Got quite high hopes for Sochi. Looks a half-decent circuit and I can’t wait to see what that long corner is like.

      Just a shame they didn’t build fewer right-angle junctions…

    10. Standing restart is something that I was involved in personally. I was talking to someone at McLaren and we came up with this idea how to make this show a bit better. When you watch a race, what is the most exciting part of the race? The start. So, why not have a second one? (smiles) It makes sense.

      And that, F1 Fanatics, is the logic of the people who run the sport we love. We are doomed.

      1. And we need a new more sexy name, hmm, I know, how about;” The FIA Formula one Destruction Derby” ?

        1. maarten.f1 (@)
          14th July 2014, 7:31

          @hohum I disagree. In view of cost control, I think they should leave the name the same, instead of having to hire a marketing company to come up with something new. It’ll save the FIA at least $20000, it’ll have a major impact, I’m sure.

          1. @maarten-f1, damn, I forgot about the vast promotional expenditure from FOM and how it is bankrupting the teams, we better not add to it.

      2. When you watch a race, what is the most exciting part of the race? The crashes. So, why not have more crashes? (smiles) It makes sense.

      3. I really don’t know how they went from ‘let’s have more starts during the race!’ to ‘standing re-starts after a Safety Car period’. Why not just go full bananas and stop the race at every yellow flag? Or even have a mandatory 2nd start, at about 85% race distance?

        They always manage to find the least likely way to ruin things, I have to give them that.

    11. I still struggle to understand why people can’t get over Hamilton’s character. I don’t see absolutely nothing wrong with being sad right after failure. I grew up thinking that people get sad when they fail and I still think like this. Maybe I wear my poker face more often than Lewis, but I’m never all smiles when things go wrong.

      I’d rather see Lewis subdued when he fails to achieve the achievable than sharing fake smiles for PR reasons. Let Lewis be Lewis on and off the track.

      1. @jcost It seems ridiculous to complain that any sportsperson should be unhappy after losing.

        1. It’s so silly that I can’t believe he really wrote that.

        2. It’s the same reason why Andy Murray has never really been well received in the press. Because they’re normal human beings who are happy when they succeed and unhappy when they fail, but either way are not gushing as their victories and achievements are personal and self-motivated in a way which doesn’t really allow for others to share in the joy of their success. It’s ridiculous really, but the press do like to turn everything into a sort of narrative with good and bad characters, so when someone stubbornly refuses to fall neatly into either role, they struggle to know what to do with them. More often than not, ending up misrepresenting them and making personal criticisms of how they carry themselves.

          But still, I wouldn’t wipe my bum on the Daily Mail, so I don’t think I’m too bothered about this particular story.

          1. Yeah I’m surprised by this article in that I would have thought most people would have completely understood his sullenness after making an error in quali. It’s like the author is either asking for permission or telling his audience what to expect from articles about LH because LH is LH. I think that was already obvious.

      2. If he had acted the opposite I would have called him a spoiled brat, which he can be sometimes but not on this occasion, if he acted like him screwing up didn’t matter he would have been after letting his team down by making such a silly mistake. He didn’t he beat him self up and took responsibility, and used it to drive him the day afterwards.

    12. So many 90ish degree corners, all of which have the same short, stabbiness to it. Plus it probably will be one of those ‘not a proper street circuit’ circuits that make Valencia and Abu Dhabi so utterly fantastic… I’ll be honest, I didn’t think they could build a circuit worse that Abu Dhabi.

    13. I see a lot of 90° corners, but it will depend of the width of the track*, and the radius of curvature. These ones are sadly very tight on most of Tilke’s tracks: that leads to ‘brake-turn-accelerate’ corners. These radius of curvature are a real issue that nobody talks about (examples: turn 1 in Turkey, last turn in Bahrain. For a same apex speed, they could be far more interesting with higher radius, forcing the driver to use his throttle IN the corner, not just at the exit of it. I don’t know if i’m clear** :-) )

      *:when you look at Silverstone for example, Copse is nearly 90° too (ok, maybe 80°) but is very fast, because the track is wide. So let’s see what we will have in Russia.
      **:well, I’m french after all ;-)

    14. I understand why some people might think it’s too false as it’s not what normally happens. But why not? I can’t see any downside to it. It will provide more excitement; you seldom get any changes of position at a rolling restart, so this might provide an opportunity for changes in position.

      No downside! Staggering. Few changes of position after a safety car is surely proof of it being the fairest way to restart a race? Why should a driver have to risk losing a fairly won lead because somebody else has had a crash? The current system is safe and gives the advantage to the driver that has earnt it up to that point. Standing restarts are dangerous and hand the advantage to the drivers who haven’t been good enough to get in front.

      It just beggars belief.

      1. A rolling restart always tightens up the field and ruins the gap a leader had. Especially when it was a big lead. If he had a big lead then he will likely pull away from the field again, and if he didn’t then everything is pretty much status quo and rolling restart or standing, the leader is still at risk of losing the lead. DRS will take care of most discrepancies anyway.

        This continuous ‘standing restarts are dangerous’ argument I don’t get. How does anyone know, especially armchair fans? We’ve never had them. And F1 is fine enough with them to have let it happen. So the aspect of ‘danger’ is obviously just a talking point and not a big concern for those who will actually be doing it, and only time will tell after we have seen several of them, how they will affect the races and the racing.

        1. You cannot conceive of a situation where a car is carrying damage that could cause a catastrophic failure in the stress of a standing start on cold worn tyres long past their useful life?

        2. It might “ruin a gap the leader has” but, at least, ‘there are seldom changes of position”. There is no real way to restart a race and keep everything exactly as it was before the incident, but I know which seems fairer.

          As regards safety, I would simply ask – when was the last time a safety car restart led to an incident, and when was the last time a standing start led to an incident. Again, nothing is completely safe, but I know which seems safer. Ask yourself why exactly it is that the start is so “spectacular” and then tell me that there is no increase in risk.

          More to the point, no justification I’ve seen given for this suggests it’s in order to make the racing purer. Everybody is actually admitting that it is solely to improve the “show”. How sad. It’s almost as if they haven’t been watching!

          Besides, who wants it improved in this way? I know I don’t. I want an open formula which rewards innovation, good design and engineering and above all excellent driving and strategy. Not one which attempts to draw in casual fans with fake sparks and loud noise and staged starts. Who seriously thinks people drawn in by gimmicks like that will stick around for the long term?

          1. In the current state with the drivers having the ability to wait for a DRS zone to make an easy pass, I welcome a little more risk. I’d prefer no DRS at all. I’d prefer the safer tires they seem to have now compared to the delaminating ones that had drivers on such performance differences amongst each other that that could have been considered dangerous too. If it is all about making everything as safe as possible then where do they draw the line? Remove all the risk from racing and I’m afraid there will be nothing enthralling to watch. That does not mean I am cavalier about safety, and the last thing F1 is, is that. So they’re going ahead with this and I’m fine with it. DRS and double points are far worse.

    15. I played the track on a mod of F1 Challenge, only a couple of laps, but I did not learn it quickly as it just looked as an infinte succession of blind corners. I hope that it will be better than that.

      1. To be fair, most tracks made in mods this long before the actual race tend to get the scenery wrong, since they haven’t seen it yet.

    16. Depending on further events in Ukraine, I might boycott Russian GP, especially if Putin comes there to demonstrate his greatness using sport again.

      Talking about circuit itself, it looks average. Length of the circuit is the same as other creations of his and it doesn’t have something special, which classic circuits have. It’s typical Tilkedrome without character or history. There are lots of circuits in the world, which are better and would attract many more people to races – Imola, Donington, Estoril, Jerez, Zolder, Indianapolis (provides real american racing spirit), even Fuji had something special.

      But for Bernie, money talks and he’d rather have replaced all European circuits with Middle East and Asia tracks.

      1. You wont be missed.

      2. All the tracks you mention which have hosted multiple gp’s always produced rubbish racing so i’d rather they be kept off the schedule.
        imola, estoril, jerez & zolder were especially bad for racing in every 4 wheeled category that i have ever seen race on them.
        fuji was better but still not great & you forget that the new fuji layout was actually designed by tilke.

        this new sochi track looks interesting & i can see the drivers finding it to be a fun little challenging circuit.

        i think there is often a disconnect between the fans view on some circuits & the drivers. the fans for instance often hated on korea yet its a circuit the drivers said they enjoyed, same for circuits like sepang, istanbul, shanghai & even bahrain which i’ve heard drivers talk about been a fun challenge in the middle sector.

        1. The drivers and viewers have different needs, though. A driver might love some parts of the Korean circuit, but they have no interest in race-long battles. Sure, they want to overtake and have some fun at the wheel, but a driver can have a blast going laps around a track at maximum focus, while viewers are bored to death and insulted with CGI overlays of Bernie ‘saying’ things.

          I’d like to point out the tracks you mention are the Tilke tracks that ended up being loved by both drivers and have produced good races for the fans in recent years. Korea maybe not so much, but the hatred towards Sepang has never really been there, Istanbul actually had some decent popularity and Shanghai and Bahrain have produced good races lately, leaving fans to wonder if they have been wrong about these particular tracks.

          Meanwhile, there was little love lost on the track in India, Valencia and I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say they liked Catalunya, but since the redesign people are outright hating it.

          I do have to agree a lot of people suffer from nostalgia bias, though. The A1 ring wasn’t a very popular track when it was dropped after 2003, nor did people really bemoan the losses of the circuits of Imola, Estoril, Jerez and Zolder. I think there’s nostalgia on one had, but on the other, those tracks do have a lot more history (the reason a boring race on Silverstone will attrack more viewers than a boring race at Abu Double) and they are in countries where people actually go and sit in the grandstands. Atmosphere is a big part in racing, the actual racing can only provide for so much of it. Excellent trackside facilities contribute next to nothing.

          Still, I’d like some more variety on the calendar, which is what I think most of us want. Some just want old tracks back for known features, while others are more inclined to be open to new ones which might prove themselves a worthy addition.

        2. Well, Suzuka almost always produces boring races, yet it’s still considered as one of the most favourite tracks among drivers and fans. Same for Monaco. Good tracks are not distinguished by whether they produce entertaining or boring races. It’s about history, variety (track has to stand out from others), fans etc.

          I don’t say that all Tilke tracks are boring, it’s good to have some of them (Shanghai, Sepang, Bahrain), but when they started to add more Tilkedromes, it became boring – it’s just like every second weekend returning to the same track with different landscape.

          At least, F1 could have more than one designer, which designs tracks or just bring old school tracks with crowded grandstands.

      3. Boycotting a race due to politics is a dangerous precedent to set. Virtually every GP is hosted by a country that has commited terrible crimes in recent years while many of the teams have links to people and businesses that are guilty of exploiting people and/or destroying the environment.

        If you boycott Russia over Ukraine then why not boycott Spa as its title sponsor Shell are responsible for some terrible things in the Niger Delta and South America, or maybe boycott Silverstone or COTA over the War on Terror, or maybe all the Middle Eastern GP’s because of their internal human rights abuses, or Australia for the way their government treats immigrants…

        Once you start you may find you just can’t stop, especially if you take the time to look into some of the people and businesses behind F1.

    17. I’m surprised nobody has mentioned Charlie Whiting’s comment on his friendship with Ecclestone: “Bernie knows that my priority’s safety and he also knows I’ll do everything I can to accommodate what he would like while respecting the safety.”

      Seeing as he thinks mid-race standing re-starts are safe (“Some people were even silly enough to say it’s dangerous.” Like the drivers? Duh…) he’s just proving to be a yes-man to Bernie’s billions.

      1. I think dangerous is way too strong a word and is mostly being used by armchair fans. Maybe a few drivers have said it too, but I think it is more for effect than what the reality will be. Has anyone said it ‘could be’ or ‘might be’ by any chance? And keep in mind Whiting has reserved the right to just do a rolling restart if he feels that is more appropriate than a standing restart, under certain circumstances. Ultimately we may only see 6 or 8 of these next year. Since nobody, including the drivers, has experienced standing restarts in F1, they will only know once they do some how they go, and I am sure that if for some reason they do prove to actually be more dangerous than regular standing starts, which I can’t imagine, then they simply can just revert back to regular rolling restarts. I don’t see the big deal.

    18. My prediction…A week after the Sochi race, Russia will invade the Ukraine.

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