Igora Drive

Igora Drive’s elevation change makes it an “amazing” circuit – Masi

2021 F1 Season

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FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi said work is already underway to adapt Igora Drive as a new home of the Russian Grand Prix.

The circuit near St Petersburg was announced as the replacement for current venue Sochi for 2023 last month. An extension is bring built at the track, which opened just two years ago, ahead of Formula 1’s first race.

Masi visited Igora Drive to assess the circuit with the series’ sporting director Steve Nielsen following the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

“There’s a number of changes that are being worked through together with the circuit,” Masi explained. “They’re already doing an extension on there, which is a longer extension, which is well advanced.

“But one thing that probably isn’t appreciated is the topography. It’s actually amazing, the topography and that’s something you don’t appreciate from seeing on a drawing.”

Igora Drive changes
Report: Igora Drive building new track extension for first F1 race in 2023
Further work is being done on the infrastructure of the circuit, which has also been designed to accommodate Moto GP races, Masi added.

“There’s some work to do prior to their inaugural event in 2023. It’s also an FIM Grade A circuit, so we’re working together with our friends at the FIM and the circuit themselves to implement a few changes with regards to extending the number of garages.”

Motorbike tracks require much smaller garages than car series, so Masi said the track would add “a couple of garages” as well as other routine modifications.

“There’s some run-off areas and the changing kerbs and things like that,” he said. “But nothing unusual, let’s call it, from what we would have seen going to a pre-event inspection for a new facility.”

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Author information

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...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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26 comments on “Igora Drive’s elevation change makes it an “amazing” circuit – Masi”

  1. Usually the opposite of what Masi says is actually true. So I expect a track where racing is even more boring than Sochi.

    1. I oppose. Elevations are only good when they are small and not blind, like on Mid-Ohio. Or as a large mountain, like Bathurst. But those huge Tilke hills with blind wide corners are not interesting at all.

    2. So I expect a track where racing is even more boring than Sochi.

      @unitedkingdomracing, I don’t think that is possible. This track can only be an improvement.

    3. Sergey Martyn
      8th July 2021, 9:26

      Yeah, the recent Bellingcat report clearly shows that that this venue is secretly equipped by Novichok gas sprinklers along the main straight (installed by Putin himself of course) which ‘highly likely’ will make the grid vomiting into their helmets on the second lap and only Mazepin who got antidote will win the race!

      1. Get Webbo back out there and he’d have some good competition. As we saw in Japan in 2007, having a bit of a chunder in his helmet doesn’t stop him.

      2. 1. Sounds very entertaining!
        2. No way Mazepin will finish the race even with antidote.

  2. Another dump in a dictatorship. Makes races in apartheid SA seem quaint.

    1. Get off your high horse and just enjoy the racing. Not everything is about politics.

      1. F1 is money, money is politics.
        Everything in this world is politics.

        You can’t just stick your head in the ground and hope it all goes away, it never does.

        Reply moderated
      2. You mean the racing which is now framed by political messages that contradict the recent policies of countries like Russia? It’s not us fans that made the sport political. It’s the money driven clowns that gave their product an opportune paintjob.

      3. To quote Biskit Boy: “Politics is in everything, including sport. Its unavoidable.”

    2. Sergey Martyn
      8th July 2021, 9:19

      Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way (Pink Floyd ‘Time’)
      You’ll feel much better and saner without such brainwashing.
      Judging Russia by BBC, Voice of America etc. hogwash is the same as judging black people by KKK manifestos.

    3. RocketTankski
      8th July 2021, 20:18

      Most F1 host countries have a history of corruption and human rights abuses if you delve deeply enough. Especially Britain. It shouldn’t stop people having fun though. Fun is an antidote to misery and badness in the world.

  3. I’d imagine that means a mix of asphalt/gravel run-off, which is always a plus!

  4. We shall see if it is going to be amazing.
    If the classic tracks vs new tracks have proven anything, it is you can’t fake it.
    You simply can’t put all wanted characteristics in a computer and expect a mugello, spa francorchamps or Nordschleife, and not even a Zandvoort or Suzuka to come out.

    Tilke has now been trying for decades and most of his tracks are indistinguishable and boring.

    Reply moderated
    1. COTA is Good exception.

    2. Tilke is only giving his customers what they are asking for.

  5. They’re building the Catalunya-ish track extension before we race there.

  6. That Start line to turn 1 run is pretty short.

    1. Again, this configuration would be better clockwise. Would resemble old Kyalami.

  7. This could be good

  8. Saw a map (no ideas how accurate it is) showing the elevation changes and it certainly makes the new final section look a bit more interesting…

    https://cdn-3.motorsport.com/images/mgl/2eA7GB32/s8/igora-drive-autodrom-map-1.jpg

    1. Little better version
      Clockwise lap would suit better this configuration.
      https://img.championat.com/i/b/b/1624716648531965473.jpg

      1. Agreed. Why should every circuit had to be forced to slow down and drag race at the finish line?

  9. The only way to improve racing is make the new circuits, semi street circuits like Canada. Or minimal runoff areas to actually test their driving abilities. I agree with larger extensions off the track when it’s a fast section for safety to an extent. But when the have the chance of entering a different country while running off is just embarrassing

    Reply moderated
    1. That could improve Sochi. Been saying it for 7 years. 2 section should be twice narrower. 90 deg turns should be 80 km/h, not 250 km/h.

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