Sochi Autodrom, 2014

Drivers: Sochi like Valencia, Yas Marina and Korea

2014 Russian Grand Prix

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Sochi Autodrom, 2014F1 drivers expect the Sochi Autodrom, which will host the first Russian Grand Prix this weekend, to be similar to former F1 venues Valencia and South Korea – as well as Yas Marina.

The 5.8-kilometre Sochi Autodrom, designed by Hermann Tilke, is laid out around the site used for the Winter Olympics earlier this year.

Jenson Button compared the track to two venues which are no longer on the F1 calendar.

“From what I’ve seen of the place, it’s sort of a mix between the tracks we raced on in Valencia and Korea,” he said. “Plenty of long, fast straights hemmed in by concrete walls and high barriers, and a selection of medium-speed corners that seem to have been designed to test the abilities of a car.”

However McLaren team mate Kevin Magnussen likened it to the circuit which will host the final round of this year’s world championship.

“The layout sort of looks a little bit like Abu Dhabi,” he said. “It has the curving straights into very precise, tight corners, which will really require a lot from the car because it’ll be trying to snap away mid-turn. Like Yas Marina, it looks pretty flat, too.”

Magnussen expressed concern about the difficulty of overtaking at the Sochi circuit. “There are no particularly big stops or opportunities where you can really place your car up the inside,” he said.

“Turn 11, which is the right-hander at the end of the back straight, might be a good possibility. Turn 13 could be an option, too.”

However Romain Grosjean said he had a more positive impression of the circuit after driving it on the Lotus simulator.

“It didn’t look very sexy from the outside but it actually seems to be really good fun,” he said. “There’s a great mix of corners and some good high speed areas too.”

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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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41 comments on “Drivers: Sochi like Valencia, Yas Marina and Korea”

  1. Another 3rd-4th gear track, slow and boring, pretty much like Valencia.
    The second half of Korea track was quite good in my opinion, with this succession of corners (including fast ones).

    Sochi will be another slow track, where it could have be much faster (just be repositionning the kerbs and making the track wider, thus faster). I hope Tilke and FIA realize one day that, if drivers like fast corners, fans like them too.

    1. It’d be wrong not to mention that we had some good races at Valencia!

      1. One good race and one decent. 2008 and 2011 were awful while 2009 was somewhat decent but still quite boring. Same with 2010.

        1. The only good valencia race i remember depended on a genius driving by alonso. Bar from that, just some yellow flags and pool shots save the race. Kudos for those who took the race there.

    2. This does not explain why Montreal and Melbourne are consistently great places to watch racing. It should be about braking and power, not downforce. High speed strings the cars out and makes braking zones too safe and boring.

      1. Am I the only one who feels that Singapore is a race that needs to be held during the day? Sir Frank Williams said that the Singapore GP gives Monaco a run for it’s money. Sexy backdrop, too for the Singapore GP.

    3. What a boring track

  2. I reckon they should rename the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to the UAE Grand Prix and alternate between Yas Marina and the Dubai Autodrome. The latter has more character to it.

    1. The track at Dubai looks great. I’d maybe have it a tad proportionally bigger, and a few tight chicanes.

  3. The Blade Runner (@)
    8th October 2014, 9:54

    Not the most positive comparisons.

  4. Well, I’ve seen quite a few laps around this track on F1 2014 and it looks very good. yes, you read that right. It looks fun to drive, fast and flowing with just a handfull of fast, yet challenging, 90° corners. This is NOT another Abu Dhabi.

    1. I agree, although I haven’t driven it myself in the game.

      On the negative side, once again, most of the corners are low- and medium-speed. But it’s quite technical (the over-abused word in my dictionary refers to an ideal line, which has to be stretched for the driver to be able to stay on it; where the slightest deviance messes up not one, but two or more corners) and the sequence from T3 all the way to T9 has some nice flow to it with the two high-speed corners of T7 and T8 and the likely flat-out long T3. In general, I like the first two sectors and also the curved braking zone into T13 and the increasing radius T14.

  5. Yes, a boring layout with no character, just like Valencia and South Korea.

    1. Yeongamn was a great circuit in my opinion. Granted no real overtaking possibilites for half the lap but it had plenty of challenging corners.

      1. I don’t miss Yeognam…it looked dreary on TV, I don’t suppose it was much livelier in real life.

  6. Does look like a fun circuit to drive at least. I think the drivers will have a blast in qualifying, but whether that translates to an exciting race I’m not sure. Really doesn’t look like there’s much opportunity for overtaking

  7. Hopefully it won’t be as visually bland as Korea and Valencia as well. There was never anything unique or exciting about them. They looked drab and grey, and the races they produced were by and large the same.

    1. You’re gonna be disappointed unfortunately…

  8. F1 drivers expect the Sochi Autodrom, which will host the first Russian Grand Prix this weekend, to be similar to former F1 venues Valencia and South Korea – as well as Yas Marina.

    PR goldmine!

  9. Valencia? What, F1 drivers are allowed to mention that circuit these days? I thought it’d been decommissioned and that the F1 world has forgotten it like a bad nightmare…
    Last I heard, the only live thing there were green shrubs and weeds growing along the kerbs…

  10. “Drivers: Sochi like Valencia, Yas Marina and Korea” and then they go about how it’ll “push the abilities of the car”. Come on…

    If this piece of… track pushes the abilities of the car, what’s Eau Rouge then?

    It’s horrible. From the day it was born to the day it’ll disappear from the calendar (and I don’t expect that to be so far away…). I’m with Tilke here, as Russia told him to design a track around a parking lot, basically, so he had not much to do, really. But it’s the most dull layout ever seen in a looooong while.

    1. @fer-no65
      Have you seen the layout for Azerbaijan? :P

      1. @synapseza I have. It looks like Mr. Mackey from South Park…

    2. I think the “pushing the abilities of the car” is a polite way to say that the track is not a difficult track to drive (for the driver).

    3. even eau rogue is not much of a challenge anymore in an f1 car, but it just looks so nice, nice undulations and “trees” we need more trees in f1 again. tilke got one thing right in turkey, that high speed turn that goes for a bout 10 seconds and 4 corners – that was one of the most challenging sections of track in modern f1, but he isn’t good enough to do things like that in all his track designs.

  11. The good things that Sochi have compared to most Tilke tracks is a very long run down into the first braking zone, could create some interesting moments on the first lap and from onboards as well, the corners don’t appear to be as slow as they look.

    1. @brickels With an exciting first few seconds, then a thrilling crash, then cars going in circles too few to entertain as much as Interlagos?

      That’s in some ways worse than Korea, where the crash happened a couple of corners and a looong straight later.

      So I hope we won’t see any crashes.

  12. “It didn’t look very sexy from the outside but it actually seems to be really good fun. There’s a great mix of corners and some good high speed areas too.”

    Did Grosjean really say it or was it just a robot programmed to describe any circuit designed by Tilke?

  13. Could there be a more damning headline than that!?

  14. “Wifi and snacks in media center free”, says Tobias Grüner from AMuS; “Track looks good”.
    That’s the press won over, then.

    1. Lol. That ten-out-of-ten for the PR effort too!

  15. these tilke tracks are hideous to look at. they would be considered ok if they had some trees around them, and for the street circuits, make them drive on real streets, like the old Adelaide and Detroit circuits, where there is citry scenery close by. tilke even ruined the great hockenheim. he will probably ruin Spa and Suzuka next.

  16. If I was trying to be as offensive as possible about a track layout, this is the sort of thing I would write about it… does not bode well.

  17. Few laps from the F1 2014 game:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceuIIKVEmGs

    Based on that & other images & stuff i’ve seen I think the track looks interesting. It looks pretty fast & flowing for the most part & even some of the slower more fiddly bit towards the end looks like it will be quite technical & challenging.

    Looks way better than Valencia (Which it keep been compared to) & politics aside I’m looking forward to seeing cars on track round it & getting to go round it myself in the Sim-world.

  18. I never liked Valencia, Yas Marina or South Korea.

    I’m not getting my hopes up.

  19. I’ll just save everyone time from reading the comments and give you the gist of the response of 90% of f1 regardless of how an f1 track is designed.

    “What is this? It’s just all X corners when they should have added some Y and Z. Tilke is a (derogatory noun), I could do a way better job.”

    Now seriously, can we reserve judgement until we see how it races? You people are complaining no matter what kind of track he designs at this point.

  20. here is a look at racing at Sochi. These are legend cars.

    /www.youtube.com/watch?v=nw2H1Aqv_CE

    Good sound level.

  21. One thing about the corners:

    There is enough space to make the radius of many corners longer or even to play with their length so as to
    have several increasing or decreasing radius bends. It would not take much to change the character of the layout
    drastically, make it faster or more varied.

    It is unfortunately flat.

  22. Well, it was pretty much proven out in the race today: BORING TRACK. Technically, it’s a challenge, plenty of of camber corners, changes of direction into braking areas, and the like. but it’s also incredible, incredibly dull, and produced basically dull racing. Even Nico Rosberg last to second run wasn’t exciting.

    Tilke needs to close down his design company and stop ruining F1.

  23. After 2 decent races, could Tilke turn to the Rio Olympic Park for his next venture? Also, he could do the ‘Istanbul’ to the dome-shaped Turn 3.
    Shut up and watch the race this year. Rosberg wins, the Vettel, Raikkonnen

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