Sainz unimpressed with Sochi’s turn two run-off

2016 Russian Grand Prix

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Carlos Sainz Jnr says the run-off areas at the Sochi Autodrom are too wide in places – despite surviving a huge crash at the circuit last year.

Sainz had a heavy impact with the barriers at turn 13 during final practice for last year’s race. However he believes the run-off is excessive at other points around the 5.8 kilometre lap.

“At the start of the lap there’s a lot of slipstream, so it’s possible to arrive to turn two with four cars side by side,” he said.

“One thing I don’t like, especially here at this second corner, is the wide tarmac run-off areas, where a lot of cars just run wide instead of committing to the corner,” said Sainz.

The turn two run-off area was a problem for the race organisers last year. For the 2015 race the stewards originally instructed drivers who went off at the corner to make their way around a polystyrene bollard.

However after Artem Markelov caused a crash at the start of a GP2 race by hitting the barrier, the policy was abandoned.

Sainz described his crash at turn 13 last year as “the biggest of my career so far”. The Toro Rosso driver was unable to participate in qualifying but took part in Sunday race, only to retire with a brake fault.

“Last year’s race was quite exciting so I hope for another one like that and to be able to continue scoring points,” he added.

2016 Russian Grand Prix

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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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    28 comments on “Sainz unimpressed with Sochi’s turn two run-off”

    1. A huuuuuuuuuuuuge run off causes that: the drivers know that if a certain move doesn’t stick, they’ll continue, so they never properly commit to the corner. “If it sticks, it sticks” sort of attitude.

      I agree with Sainz. It’s unnecessary, and not just for turn 2 at Russia

      1. Indeed. We have seen the same in Spa with La Source, Copse corner on Silverstone, Suzuka’s First Curve and many many others. You can break later and later these days, without any real consequences. A failed attempt in the past set you back 10+ seconds, now you lose half a second max. Another wheel on the wagon that has made F1 more boring.

        1. Arahones, you can hardly complain about the tarmac run off at La Source given that it has been there for over thirty years. Brundle mentioned in his memoirs that, when they used the start-finish line that sportscar racing uses (just before Eau Rouge) back in the 1980’s, drivers would deliberately run wide on an out lap of a qualifying run in order to give themselves a longer run to Eau Rouge, thereby improving their overall lap time on their fast laps.

          Equally, it is not a new phenomenon to tarmac over a gravel trap either – back in the 1980’s, the run off area for Paddock Hill Bend at Brands Hatch was converted into a tarmac run off area with relatively little fuss. Would you use that to detract from the races held there in the 1980’s?

          1. La Source has only had run off since 2007 after the circuit was revamped. There used to be an armco barrier

            1. There has always been a tarmac run off area at La Source, they’ve just made it bigger.
              Watch the video from 1989 of Mansell trying to get past Prost in the wet, Mansell uses it to try and get a better run out of La Source.

          2. and thankfully they soon replaced the tarmac at paddock hill with good old gravel afterwards

          3. the long ‘straight-on’ run off at la source is nothing new (it was part of the public road), but the wide run off on the exit of the corner (left side of the track) is very new.

        2. It’s a shame that there is nothing in the rules regarding track limits…

      2. I’d say a HUUUUGE runoff area and no clear policing of going off track there combined is what causes it yeah.

    2. It’s one thing to have a run-off at the end of a straight, another to have it continue all the way along the outside of the corner.
      If the run-off area turns into grass before cars that went “just a bit wide” have a chance to re-join the circuit, it could have a much better effect than asphalt everywhere. (Just don’t put ditches right after the run-off.) For that matter, put a small gravel trap there.

    3. What I want to know is, why is there even that pathetic corner on the exit of turn two anyway? Without that drivers wouldn’t be able to cut it to gain an advantage, and furthermore it is the most pointless corner ever. It ruins the flow of the section, adds nothing to the track, just why does it exist?

      1. @strontium To slow the cars before they get to turn 3.

        If turn 2 wasn’t there they would be entering turn 3 at more than 190mph & with so little runoff if anyone went off there at those sorts of speeds its going to be a ridiculously big accident. Just look at how big accidents that occur there currently are & image the difference the extra speed would make.
        Additionally you have to consider the next corner as increasing the speed they enter the current turn 3 at has a knock-on effect at turn 4 & suddenly you find that what was a sufficient amount of runoff for the old approach speed suddenly isn’t enough for the increased approach speed.

        1. @gt-racer I believe @strontium refers to the useless kink at the exit of turn 2, not the turn 2 itself

    4. I wanted to remind myself of Turn 2 and so I went to the Track Data page from the Russian GP tab. And there I read this
      Lap record* 1′ 32.238 (Michael Schumacher, 2004)

      *Fastest lap set during a Grand Prix
      which got me even more confused as there wasn’t a Sochi race in 2004. So I wondered if it should have been the first Sochi race in 2014, but Schu wasn’t racing in 2014 – was he?

      1. knoxploration
        26th April 2016, 21:54

        Nope, it’s not just you. Almost everything in that table is an exact duplicate of the Shanghai circuit:

        The only differences are the DRS zone info (blanked out), full throttle time (2% lower), pit lane time loss (Shanghai lacks that field), and tyre selections (links to an article instead of listing inline).

        Apparently Keith cribbed from the Shanghai page when making that for Sochi, and then forgot to update most of the stats.

      2. Neil (@neilosjames)
        26th April 2016, 22:12

        No, retired in 2012… I think the whole data section on that page is for China, as that’s the Shanghai lap record and the lap distance is also for Shanghai, not Sochi.

        1. Neil (@neilosjames)
          26th April 2016, 22:13

          ^ beat me to it, in a more complete manner.

      3. @nickwyatt Sorry about that – some of the code which runs on that page has been changed recently and there was an error I overlooked. It’s fixed now.

        1. Thank you all for your explanations, and thanks to Keith for providing the solution!

    5. When will we finally get ‘virtual gravel trap’ electronic speed reduction?

      Should be easy to do with all the tech and funds available in F1.

      1. @balue it makes me shudder to think of it.

        1. @frood19 Why though? Gravel traps are not as safe and asphalt run-offs not punishing enough.

          1. @balue it sounds like the most artificial and contrived addition we could possibly have. gravel traps can be made safe as long as the transition is smooth. the dangerous ones, causing cars to dig in and flip, generally had a narrow strip of grass between the track and the gravel which was prone to subsidence.

            gravel can and does work if done correctly. tarmac run off was primarily for bike racing and it has been kept because circuits don’t want/need the expense of two different solutions.

          2. Michael Brown (@)
            27th April 2016, 16:48

            Because the best speed to rejoin the track is the same speed that everyone else is going at

    6. Michael Brown (@)
      27th April 2016, 3:23

      Why does turn 2 even exist? All it does is tighten up the exit of turn 1 so running side by side is very hard. I’d say the same for Bahrain but Bahrain’s is more stretched out and it leads to a straight.

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        27th April 2016, 3:31

        They should move turn 1 a bit closer to the start/finish line, so it can be made slightly faster and they can remove turn 2 to make it a straight run to the sweeping left that is currently turn 3. It would also give them more runoff at the exit of turn 1, which tracks love these days.

    7. Turn 1 @ SPA is unimpressed with Sainz’s comments.

    8. Simple rule, anyone who goes off track must come to a complete stop before rejoining.

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