Nicholas Latifi, Williams, Sochi Autodrom, 2020

Sochi’s turn two is “not right” and should be changed for next year – Steiner

2020 Russian Grand Prix

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Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says crashes will continue to happen at Sochi’s turn two unless the corner is altered.

The layout of the corner and its asphalt run-off has prompted criticism from several drivers following a number of incidents since the Russian venue was added to the calendar in 2014. Carlos Sainz Jnr retired in a crash on the first lap of this year’s race and several other drivers were penalised after going off at the turn and failing to rejoin the track in the correct fashion.

Steiner said the latest problems at the corner were predictable given what had happened in previous years.

“We had a problem last year which we brought up to the FIA,” he said. “I wouldn’t say everything is wrong with the corner, it’s just it should be reworked, or at least some more thought goes into how to deal with it.

“It was no surprise that it happened again this year. As long as nothing changes, the same thing will keep on happening. Hopefully that doesn’t mean more accidents happen, but the corner is just not right.

“I hope after a second year with controversy there they’ll change it for the future. There is nothing else like turn two in Russia anywhere else on the Formula 1 calendar.”

FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi said the layout of the corner’s run-off, where drivers are required to pass between a series of blocks before rejoining the circuit, could be improved.

“Turn two has been one of those that’s been a challenge in different ways each year,” he said. “You fix things in one way and it has another impact in another [way]. So we’re trying to find the best solution and I think we’ve found a reasonable solution.

“Is there room for improvement? Yes, there’s always room for improvement.”

Sochi Autodrom track map

Sochi Autodrom track map, 2019
Sochi Autodrom track map

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Keith Collantine
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32 comments on “Sochi’s turn two is “not right” and should be changed for next year – Steiner”

  1. Yes, there is indeed room for improvement. Much as almost everyone has mentioned since we first came here in 2014 that turn 2 is just badly designed and the “solutions” they have installed each year have not really been able to solve that.

  2. Michael Masi is a bit slippery, I’m starting to think. He’s always answering questions with these generalities.

    1. Ha ha ha!!! @gdog It reminded me of something but I couldn’t quite think what – that’s it, a multi-tool! – great for opening bottles and tightening the odd screw – but not so great for 20 cars to race on.

  3. I think any corner that requires such elaborate measures to manage how drivers use it should be changed unless there’s a good reason for it to be kept that way.

    1. Or drivers could just drive the track.

      Sainz’ problem was because he kept his foot in. All other issues this year were also driver errors.

  4. But how can they change it?! There is not much space there in T2. They can’t move to the right, because there’s the icehockey stadium. The can’t move it too much further ahead, because there’s the medal plaza and to the left are public and support roads.
    The only possible change I can see is to move it just slightly, a couple of metres, ahead towards the medal plaza. They will have to make sure that there still is enough run-off, so they can’t go too far.

    As you can see on the map, there is really not much room to play with:

    1. It is tight isn’t it @srga91, but if they angle the barrier instead of having it square on they can have it closer. So I think what they have to do, to make it more like Bahrain T1 as Russell suggested, is extend the track deeper and then have it turn back through more than 90 degrees, and then more of a length of track before it turns left again, so that the runoff doesn’t work as a shortcut any more.

      1. @zann
        The question is how much space they have, between the current barriers and the medal plaza, to work with. I can’t imagine they have a lot of room left, even if they choose to angle the barriers.
        Considering the cars arrive at T2 with 330+ kph, they’d still need a lot of run-off for the cars to be slowed down properly, in case of a mechanical failure or an accident.

        1. Yes @srga91 it’s a question, tho George has walked and driven the track of course so I’m thinking he sees some scope in this concept. They do need runoff as you say but for any given level of safety they can have an angled barrier closer than a square-on one which basically has to stop a car completely just within its own depth and any give in the posts or whatever. An angled barrier dissipates the energy over a much longer period of time, and some into spin etc etc, which is all less g.

    2. @srga91 There’s room for making the track wider from the left-hand side after T2 by removing the kink and extending the edge closer to the wall towards T3. There would still be enough runoff for the approach towards T2.

    3. Well, first of all we have what @jerejj proposes @srga91, I guess incorporating what @Zann mentions Russel proposed.

      But mainly, you say there is not much room because of the medal plaze. My question then is, what do they need such a medal plaza for now that the Olympics games here are long behind us? And no other big championship is likely to go to Sochi in the next 5-10 years either. I think we could safely have them cut a bit out of that plaza.

    4. petebaldwin (@)
      5th October 2020, 15:31

      The only solution I can see with the room they have is to remove the stand to the left of the track and use that space. If they can’t remove the medal plaza, that seems to be the only option to allow for enough runoff and have something that could allow overtaking.

      Something like this maybe?

      1. @petebaldwin I don’t really like the look of that. Doesn’t look much better as there’s still an unnecessary kink at the corner exit.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          5th October 2020, 16:08

          @jerejj – Yeah it’s not so much the exact design as I did that in 30 seconds on paint. It’s more to illustrate that you could use that patch of land to give them more options rather than just working with the space they currently have. I don’t know what they can remove and what they can’t….

          I don’t see how they could improve T2 without using a different patch of land as it looks too tight.

      2. You shouldn’t have an opposite-direction kink immediately before a tight corner. It has the potential to create massive T-bone accidents with a car coming across the track.

        (Sochi’s turn 12 is exactly this layout, and in my view is dreadfully unsafe).

  5. Russell wasn’t the only one.

    1. Easy. Make it like Bahrain turn 1 and 2

  6. Put in gravel, let drivers figure it out…I bet they will find the space to get through.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      5th October 2020, 15:34

      They’ll find space but they won’t be able to overtake. If you’re on the inside, you either give the corner up or you go wide because there is only 1 line through there. You can’t keep any pace whilst leaving space for a car outside of you.

  7. Aside from napalming the entire circuit to rid it of its needless existence, here’s a possible idea that removes the issue of the turn two run-off by removing turn two completely, as well re-profiling the entire circuit. The chicane halfway round the lap probably isn’t the best idea I’ve ever had, plus the final sector is a nightmare to ‘fix’. A lesson to Tilke – design the circuit first, then fit in the facilities later.

    1. @brickles I think the buildings were planned and positioned (although not built) before Tilke got to design anything. Downside of reusing Olympic facilities.

      1. @alianora-la-canta – Thought that might’ve been the case, same with Valencia in a way in building the circuit around existing architecture.

      2. Yes, the buildings were already partly done when the deal to make the track there came into being @alianora-la-canta, @brickles.

        I get your idea, but I think F1 cars would have a pretty horrible time navigating that idea. Also, it cust away a grandstand (I think) and cuts out some parts that are possibly quite often used for logistics around the arenas.

        To me the easiest solution would be to carve out a chunk of the medal plaza, since that will hardly be used without any Olympics games (or any other sporting event of the same scale) on the horizon for Sochi.

        1. @bascb That would be a logical approach. This is really the venue owner’s problem, and the venue owner should do this or something equally sensible in order to resolve it.

  8. How is Sochi not right? It’s certainly not left!

  9. Looks like a monza style turn 1-2 complex could fit with a flick to the right to enter the long left hander. Add in a nice gravel trap and it’s gold! There is a limited amount of run off for a brake failure event but that exists now.

  10. Push corner two right up the point where you have to make the right turn or you crash. Consider having almost No runoff either. Make it a sweeper like the massive Left it then feeds. Perhaps like the famed British Left Right Left complex or the similar imitation turns at COTA after cresting the hill. Put that kind of slow down through Turns 1,2 and 3 instead of the sudden Right Left where the cars lose so much of their top end speeds.
    Add a proper Left-Right-Left instead of turn two as it currently is. Problem solve at what otherwise is a pretty good and challenging circuit. After seeing this years race I find Sochi much better than I recalled, with the exception of the famed stupid turn two.
    Most of these chicanes were made at a time where Grand Prix cars were more Pigs and could easily get through the artificial speed traps. Today’s monsters are so much faster the false allusion of it being easy is replaced with machines that can pull up the very tarmac they race on. Russia should be able to solve this matter with a small investment. MAKE NO effort to change corner two and that means
    So So Sochi good bye.

  11. How about, you know…just having the Moscow Raceway replace Sochi? It’s got a Grade 1 licence and is a decent track.

  12. I just looked at a video of the Moscow Raceway and wrsgo you are spot on.
    This is a modern smart looking race facility. The corners the seeepers and decent straights makes it very plausible as a replacement for Sochi the Grand Prix layout not completely up to F1 standards having failed to solve turn two.
    Check it out and see for yourself. There’s potential

  13. They should just add gravel there problem solved

Comments are closed.