Igora Drive changes

Igora Drive building new track extension for first F1 race in 2023

2023 F1 season

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An extension is being built to the Igora Drive circuit near St Petersburg ahead of its first Russian Grand Prix in 2023.

The planned changes are shown in the image above produced by RaceFans.

Formula 1 confirmed last week Igora Drive will replace Sochi Autodrom as the home of Russia’s round of the world championship after next year’s race.

At 4.086 kilometres, Igora Drive already exceeded the minimum length required for Formula 1 tracks. The new loop will extend the circuit to 5.18km, bringing it into line with most F1 circuits.

Construction work has begun on the renovations at the end of the circuit’s anti-clockwise lap. The changes will extend the two longest straights on the circuit. These will be connected by a new series of quick left-hand corners leading into a tight right-hand hairpin at the beginning of the pit straight.

Philipp Eng, Rene Rast, Daniel Juncadella, DTM, Igora Drive, 2019
Analysis: The Saint Petersburg track which may replace Sochi
Speaking before the changes were revealed, Russia’s only F1 driver Nikita Mazepin said the relocation of his home race was “unexpected”.

“I think Sochi was a fantastic facility,” said the Haas driver. “Loads of drivers in F1 have their home races, but I’m one of the more fortunate ones to have an amazing place to host a home event.

“Looking at what Saint Petersburg and the government of the city is building there, it seems like the level is not going to be any lower. And I’m looking forward to it.”

Igora Drive opened in 2019 and was scheduled to hold rounds of the DTM and W Series last season, however they were cancelled early in the year. Domestic Russian motorsport series have visited the circuit but it is yet to hold a major international event.

Igora Drive
The existing Igora Drive layout

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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...
Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...

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28 comments on “Igora Drive building new track extension for first F1 race in 2023”

  1. Well there goes half of the overtaking opportunities for F1, leaving just one.
    The longer straight will help with the DRS stats, though…

    1. Yeah, if the objective is to increase the overtaking opportunities then I can understand making the straights slightly longer, but that final section looks like it will be impossible to follow through so looks like it could be counterproductive. Also doesn’t look like it will be particularly fun or challenging to drive, but hard to say just from the layout. The previous layout looked more promising to me.

      1. Unless the preceding straight now becomes an overtaking opportunity. Probably still too short though.

  2. That’s Turn 8 again. Although this time with a really fast approach. Not sure about the chicane hairpin combination though, I think I have seen that before as well…

    1. Abu Dhabi had a chicane into a hairpin before the reprofiling this year.

      1. Exactly, and now he is building a similar complex prior to a long straight again. Just, why?
        While the rest looks flowing the new bit ist totally cramped. Hopefully he rethinks the design and comes up with something cleaner.

  3. Just anything but Sochi. Just driving it in the F1 game is boring.

  4. Can’t say I particularly like the look of the extension, looks clunky and clumsy compared to the rest of what seems like a flowing circuit. Plus, it would been interesting to have a short lap and a race that hosts some 75 laps. We don’t see that very often these days.

  5. Looks like Herman Tilke’s 3D printer had adhesion issues on a great big turn leading to a turn 8 clone.

    Not convinced by the layout yet but it an only be an improvement on Sochi. If Tilke’s consultancy is so great at track design, why are changes being made to his existing circuits to introduce ‘flow’?

  6. Too Catalunya-ish final corner.

  7. That is one ridiculous looking new final sector. Not a turkish turn 8 of any sorts. And those two last turns, just taken at crawling speed… Barcelona is trying to get rid of theirs and these want to add it in to a new track??
    Just put a hairpin between the bigger straights and make a racing track out of it, not a supermario kart one.

    Reply moderated
  8. They just don’t want to see us happy do they? Just leave it alone. It looked great. Quick, flowing, short lap. Some of the best tracks like Interlagos are short and flowing. This extension looks like just adding some corners for the sake of it. Sigh.

  9. This makes me laugh. My first reaction when I saw this new (to F1) Tilke track was “at least it doesn’t have his typical pig tail corner”, but now here it is :)

  10. Can they not just leave it alone? The first decent looking F1 track for a while – reminiscent of the new Nurburgring – and they have to try and include these silly “turn 8” style corners that we see popping up everywhere. The original was fun. We don’t need them on every track.

  11. “If it hasn’t been tried yet, ‘fix’ it.”

    FOM’s new motto.

    1. Yes – if it’s been fixed before even trying it, it needs fixing again, regardless…

  12. This is the issue I have with many of the modern circuits. They all have a fairly similar look/feel because it seems that every modern circuits must have certain ‘modern’ characteristics. The case with this extension is the fast, Multi-Apex sequence & ‘arena’ section which is a feature that seems to get shoehorned into most modern circuits now.

    I just sort of miss the days when each circuit felt fairly unique & felt like they followed the terrain having been built around the terrain rather than designed on a computer (Now using ai learning apparently) to hit certain design characteristics & then stuck on a bulldozed flat piece of land.

  13. Maybe it’s good as the best tracks have sections to fit every car in order to even out the field, which means it should also have a tight and twisty section. IMO the most important is still the use of camber at key corners.

  14. Colin Michael Billany
    29th June 2021, 13:51

    I see that Tilke has ignored the design for better overtaking is to have a fast corner onto a long straight which leads to a hairpin or a slow corner, Like Zandvoort.

    Reply moderated
  15. Very much track changes this year. I think it would be worth investigating if the works are being done by the same company.

  16. It’s only been open 2 years, how baffling to be redeveloping already, without even trying it I a major race. Weird.

    1. @eurobrun A good sign I would think. Acting on feedback by the looks of it.

      1. Well it looks like a tiny track for f1 speeds.

  17. It would not be a Tilkedrome without 90-degree corners. Looks like they’re adding the same things Abu Dhabi tries to get rid of.

  18. The added section is all lefts. What will this do to the tires? Melting the right side rubber isn’t going to help racing.

  19. A person who actually saw the track
    30th June 2021, 9:08

    To everyone saying keep the old section. You can’t see it on the scheme but it’s uphill and very steep, almost the Corkscrew kind of steep. F1 cars on that would make a mess of their front wings. I imagine that’s why the new section is necessary.

    Reply moderated

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