Carlos Sainz Jnr, McLaren, Sochi Autodrom, 2020

Sochi’s turn two is badly designed, says Sainz after crash

2020 Russian Grand Prix

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Carlos Sainz Jnr accepted the blame for his race-ending crash at turn two, but believes the corner is poorly designed.

Turn two has been the scene of several crashes and controversies since F1 first visited Sochi Autodrom in 2014. Sainz crashed on the first lap of today’s race while driving through designated route back onto the circuit having run wide at the corner.

The McLaren driver slipped back after starting from sixth on the grid. He went wide at turn two, which meant he had to drive between the blocks on the outside of the corner. However he made contact with the solid barrier, damaging the front-left corner of his car.

Sainz explained he was trying to avoid turning in on a rival at turn two when he cut the corner, forcing him to rejoin the track through the chicane in the run-off area.

“It was a very poor start for everyone starting on the right-hand side of the grid,” said Sainz. “We literally had no grip.

“But by the time we got to turn two, we were still in a good position and fighting under the braking zone. At the time I was about to hit the apex in turn two I had to open my steering wheel because I thought I had someone on the inside and I might have jumped over the big kerbs.

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“At that point I was going to negotiate the chicane, but I clearly had too much speed. The angle was really narrow to go around the bollard and I just misjudged my entry speed. The track was very dirty and I crashed pretty heavily against that wall.”

“It is frustrating,” Sainz admitted. “But at the same time there’s always going to be some mistakes during the year.

“Today was my mistake and I apologise to the team for it. I’m definitely looking forward now to Nürburgring to try and redeem a bit myself.”

However Sainz believes there is room for improvement in the layout of turn two and its run-off area.

“That corner is not very well designed. It’s forcing drivers to take very strange lines and very strange incidents like the five-second penalties that we are given if we don’t negotiate that chicane next to a wall.

“But it is what it is and I got it wrong today.”

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2020 Russian Grand Prix

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41 comments on “Sochi’s turn two is badly designed, says Sainz after crash”

  1. If a safety road is more dangerous than the race track then it is time for Michael Masi to give up his position. Horrific stewarding in Sochi!

    1. I guess he means the FIA installed run off area or safety road.
      It is just madness what they want the drivers to accomplish at that point.
      Someone isn’t thinking and it is pathetic for a professionally run organization.

    2. That safety road was installed while Whiting still “ruled” though. I do agree that the whole track is badly designed and turn 2 has been an issue since the first race here.

  2. It looked to me as though the bollard was badly positioned, and that Carlos should have done what someone else did (sorry, I’ve forgotten who), which was to run over the bollard. Even if he’d been given a 5 second penalty he’d have been in a better position than what he is now.

    1. Sainz had the time to slow down which is likely the reason why they have put them in the position they have. So you have to slow down to get through them cleanly – or else you still may benefit. So it is effective punishment Grosjean had far less time as he’d been pushed wide by vettel and had to decide last moment to go through the barriers or get a penalty. He didn’t really have the time to slow down. When he understeered off track later on, he showed again as some others drivers did that is is easy enough to slow down and go through it properly when you have the time like sainz did at the start. Sainz just carried too much speed.

      1. For sainz to make the turn he would have had to slow down to a stupid degree which in itself could be dangerous if other cars behind also missed the corner. The corner is stupid, and the gap they have to go through it tiny. If you miss the corner by miles then it is not massively hard to negotiate but if you only just miss the corner you have to slow dramatically and swerve violently to make the gap. It is dumb beyond comprehension.

    2. But Max just flew that bollard with ease! I think he went in the wrong angle.

      1. Verstappen and Grosjean on his 2nd off both did it correctly and showed how Sainz could have done it. The layout of it is supposed to punish you for going wide and not gaining an advantage.Sainz accelarated before steering through it. He could have easily got the angle right before speeding up like the other two I mentioned did.WhenGrosjean got forced off track and had little time, he drove through them and as they have very little damage, that is the correct thing to do if you have no time to take the right line. Sainz didn’t need to speed up as much as he did.

    3. Ignore the bollard, gain a position or two by taking the fastest line off the track, take your 5s at the next pit stop: way safer and faster than doing what Sainz did

  3. I agree, although there aren’t really many options as to how the track could be changed from that part. One thing I thought about is that the track would be a lot wider after T2 and without the small kink. This would mean less runoff after T2 and into T3 on the left-hand side, but keep the same amount that faces the running direction into T2.

    1. The problem is not the track. There should be 2 or 3 escape routes there depending on how you exit the track.
      The could even paint a thick white line that ran along the wall that the drivers have to avoid crossing or get a penalty.
      But expecting some drivers to do a back flip in order to fit into that escape road is sheer madness.

    2. Get some gravel on there. If a driver goes off they get stuck. Removes the danger of accelerating heavily through a dodgy re-entry point.

      1. +1

        Any corner that needs penalties and has unnatural track limits is badly designed.

    3. The best change would to not have the race at all. It is a rubbish track in a dictatorship country and it should not exist. Given the crap circuits we have as a result of safety and then we have this rubbish track with such a dangerous corner it is just mad.

      1. Regular human beings don’t live there?

    4. @jerejj Getting rid of the small kink may improve matters a lot. The presence of the kink makes an overtake on the outside difficult since unless you have the move done before the braking zone the space just disappears as the corner tightens.

      Personally I think some barrier reconfiguration is what is needed to penalise running wide rather than trying to come up with a fancy run off route.

  4. That bollard was absurd. Drivers that went wide couldn’t correct to enter it properly.

    1. Grosjean and several other drivers this race went wide and slowed down to get through it correctly. As I said further up and I think this is deliberate. if you make a mistake by going wide, unless you slow down, you can benefit from it. That will surely have deliberately been put in this position to force drivers to do it slowly enough to cost them a bit of time. And if they go carefully enough, they could do it fine like Grosjean did the 2nd time he ran wide. He didn’t have much choice but to go though it earlier as vettel forced him off track and he had far less time to back off.

      1. @thegianthogweed mind you, I would say the case of Ricciardo getting his penalty was a more questionable case – not really sure that his sort of move was meant to have been penalised.

        1. I’m not sure that Ricciardo could have actually navigated the bollards, given the speed, direction and location of his track ‘departure’. It would have been far too dangerous for him.

      2. Cars having to slow down so much is dangerous. Especially as if you go off at a wide entry you can accelerate through the run off but if you only just miss the corner you have to take huge action to make the gap. So it actually benefits those that miss the corner by miles but punishes those that try to make the corner and don’t quite make it. If sainz had not tries to make the gap and just come back on he would already have lost a tone of time he was certainly not going to have gained anything. Grosjean showed that it is almost impossible to make the gap in certain circumstances.

  5. +1 I think the drivers should ask for his replacement. It’s too important a position to hand over to someone who has proven he’s not qualified for it. They could still keep Masi in since capacity just not the most important job in the day to day activities of the actual race.

  6. If he’d have slowed down, he might not have hit the wall.

    Driver error, nothing more and nothing less.

    1. Exactly. He tried to go through too fast. That’s all. It’s frustrating seeing drivers like Verstappen run wide then just rejoin the track without losing barley any time.

  7. Surprised with the amount of comments about the design of escape road. Seems like everyone forgot there is a break pedal on F1 cars and drivers don’t need to floor the throttle all the time. Yes it’s longer and narrow over there but going off track should result in losing time…

    Poor judgement by Sainz in my opinion.

    1. If there was a break pedal, we’d have a lot more DNFs.

      Now a brake pedal, that makes more sense.

    2. @jeanrien The problem is that ignoring track limits and the bollard and taking a 5s penalty is faster than slowing down and negotiating the escape road correctly. That’s just bad design

  8. Your maneuver was badly designed, Carlos.

    1. Correct. Sainz had been through there during practice, so new exactly what NOT to do.
      He was simply to-o-o fast. I did note he & Norris did touch in the corner, so trust both were told no more!!
      If this was Monaco – NO problem. Hence a concrete wall for ’21. THAT will sort them out!
      Firm believer the track is only the actual racing bitumen.
      Danny Ric – what a legend. Keep the foot in, accept the 5secs & drive faster to compensate. Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!. Can not wait for him in a ’21 Gulf McLaren-Merc. Oi! Oi! Oi!

  9. And if he’d slowed down more for the chicane, he’d probably have ended up with someone hitting him up the backside.

    I’ve always thought that the chicane was tight, but today just goes to show how badly designed it is…
    – Completely miss the corner like Verstappen, and you can line it up nicely for a clean run through the chicane.
    – Slightly misjudge the corner whole attempting to take it like Saniz and you are massively disadvantaged by trying to negate the chicane.
    – Get squeezed out whilst battling fairly like Grosjean and you get the double whammy of losing out in the racing, then taking (or at least trying to take) the penalty at the tighter angle.

    Not saying there shouldn’t be some sort of penalty / disadvantage to running wide, but just that it should be better managed than it is.

    1. Perfectly said, Euro Brun!

    2. +1 coherently described my thoughts

  10. It’s not only the gap between the wall and the bollard, it’s the fact that the wall comes in an angle towards the racing track, so if you do it like Verstappen and go straight on, you can come back to the track easily, but if it’s like Grosjean or Sainz, they went off the track very late into the turn, so the wall comes at you almost perpendicular to your trajectory.

    I maintain, it’s a very badly designed piece of the track. If it had proper run offs, people wouldn’t have to go around a bollard. But that’s not possible, so it needs to be re-shaped. Move the wall, re-shape the corner, whatever it takes… It’s not like this track has any character that you need to preserve anyway…

    1. I agree, the corner exit at turn three is a bit of a mess. The polystyrene bollards are there to force a driver who runs wide to slow down and lose time, because it would be faster to straight line it. But like you’ve pointed out, the angle the wall juts out means that anyone who misjudges it like Carlos did will have a big accident and get pinged back onto the racing line. Motorbikes don’t use this track so why not put gravel down in that section. It works at 3 in Melbourne. You don’t see many drivers running wide there and try and gain an advantage….

  11. Yup, I think we’ve seen it before that this particular part of track is rather bad. Anything would be a better solution: change the layout (remove the T3 kink, or move it further up the road), add tons of astroturf or other slippery material, or just let cars drive wide and give out penalties.

  12. If you go out in gravel trap it should slow you down as you make mistake. I think Sainz can only blame himself for that. He knew where it was and how it works. Of course it was a tight gap and it could have been built differently. Still if you miss a braking point and go off it should slow you down.

    But as we saw in the race that if you go wide only a bit then it is much more trickier to go round those blocks so it was mainly his own fault but not totally.

  13. Only saw highlights today so maybe I missed it, but did Perez get a penalty for also cutting turn 2 and going over the sausage kerb on the first lap? Was similar to how Ricciardo cut it, but didn’t see a penalty awarded on C4 footage. Not that I agree with all the penalties today… anything to try and make this rubbish track interesting maybe?

    I thought the bollards look tight on Friday practice, and seems to be best to just abort the corner all together if you are in any doubt you will make it, as if you only going slightly wide you would need to slam on and turn back off the track, in the hope someone isn’t behind and not expecting you to slam on the brakes. Awful design…. awful track… and a pretty pants race yet again.

  14. He went too fast in an escape road, 100% his fault.

  15. I have never seen someone choose the wall over polystyrene

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