Future home of Russian Grand Prix begins building track extension

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In the round-up: Work has begun on extending the Igora Drive circuit, which the Russian Grand Prix will move to after bidding farewell to Sochi next year.

In brief

Igora Drive F1 extension work begins

Igora Drive changes
Report: Igora Drive building new track extension for first F1 race in 2023
The Igora Drive circuit, situated 54 kilometres outside St Petersburg, has begun work on a 1.1 kilometre extension which will be complete in time for it to replace Sochi as the home of the Russian Grand Prix in 2023.

While the track only opened two years ago and its original four-kilometre length met the minimum required for grand prix circuits, the extension is being built to improve its suitability for F1 racing.

Mercedes are favourites in Sochi – Perez

Sergio Perez believes Red Bull’s rivals Mercedes will hold the upper hand in the Russian Grand Prix.

“Mercedes have won every race at Sochi since 2014 so they’re the favourites this weekend,” he said. “They’re definitely going to be hard to beat but like always we will give it our best. Sochi is a track I like because it is very technical, fast and fluid which I think makes qualifying quite exciting.”

Same two venues for Asian F3

The 2022 Asian Formula 3 championship will be held at the same two venues as last year. Yas Marina and Dubai Autodrome will hold all 15 rounds of the series, spread across five triple-header weekends.

The championship, which was won by Alpine junior driver Guanyu Zhou this year, will run on consecutive weekends from January 22nd to February 19th. It will begin and end at Yas Marina, with a trio of rounds in Dubai in between.

Departing Bottas driving better than ever – Wolff

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Monza, 2021
Bottas went from the back row to the podium at Monza
Valtteri Bottas may be in his final races as Lewis Hamilton’s team mate at Mercedes but team principal Toto Wolff is pleased with his outgoing driver’s recent performances.

“Our aim is to pull together a strong weekend, starting in FP1 and building one session at a time,” said Wolff. “Lewis is in the tenth championship battle of his F1 career, and he is laser focused on what he needs to deliver in the next eight races.

“As for Valtteri, he’s driving better than ever, like we saw in Monza – and he will be flat-out every weekend. There’s a calm determination about the team right now and the business end of a season, fighting for championships, is exactly what we enjoy the most.”

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Comment of the day

Are young drivers well served by F1 teams’ junior driver programmes?

Those junior programmes are not only silly and futile, but harm the young talent and F1 itself as well.

If an F1 team wants to hire a rookie – every single driver in the world would want to be hired, young or experienced. But there’s at most one or two seats for a rookie every single year in F1 – if that! Very often there is none.

And with those junior programmes, young prospects get entangled in long-term contracts with teams and their sponsors without actually competing in F1, which block them from possibly driving for other teams/brands – in and outside of F1 – if an opportunity arises and block their spots for other young drivers as well.

This ordeal only makes the whole thing more congested and static.
Amian

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On this day in motorsport

  • 25 years ago today Jacques Villeneuve performed a daring pass on Michael Schumacher to win Estoril’s last Portuguese Grand Prix. The event returned to the F1 calendar in 2020, at Algarve.

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  • 16 comments on “Future home of Russian Grand Prix begins building track extension”

    1. The 2022 Asian Formula 3 championship will be held at the same two venues as last year. Yas Marina and Dubai Autodrome will hold all 15 rounds of the series, spread across five triple-header weekends.

      And it’s called the ‘Asian’ F3 Championship because……?

      Reply moderated
      1. Similar to how IndyCar events have occurred outside of the US and especially Indianapolis.

      2. Perhaps because both locations are in Asia. I thought the same, and went to look it up. So it’s true… you do learn something every day…

        Reply moderated
    2. Why are these new circuits so painfully unimaginative? A straight doesn’t have to be perfectly straight, and a corner doesn’t have to be a constant radius. Where is the nuance? It drives me crazy. Anyway, apologies for the ranting first comment.

      1. @john-h I’m happy to stand corrected on this, but I actually do think there are rules that new circuits have to meet in order to get the requisite grading to host F1 races. These include things like the radii of corners and changes in elevation.

        1. @geemac yep, there are rules for grade 1 status, but those rules say nothing about constant radius corners for example. Parabolica or Spoon for example would meet current standards, but still we have these constant radius fillets (I use the fillet tool myself in AutoCAD). The fact I knew this was designed by the Tilke office before googling it says it all really. Even Istanbul Park at least has some corners with some variety, but Tilke seems to have recessed back into this mode of straight lines and then the fillet tool. It’s exasperating, I had hope with Bernie gone there would be some more variety in terms of designers, instead the monopoly continues and we all suffer as a result.

        2. There are no rules that force tracks to be boring ;) It’s just lack of imagination and being stuck in old routines.

    3. Agree with COTD.
      The control the four major players have over the sport with regards to engine supply, ‘second teams’ and their young driver programs is not healthy for the sport.

      In saying that though, these programs have supported many talents that otherwise wouldn’t have made it to F1 so it’s certainly not all bad. Without them, it would skew the junior ranks towards the sons of ex-drivers and billionaire’s even more than what it is now.

      A grid of 13 teams or 26 cars is the easiest answer but the pathway to realising that is buried by politics.

    4. >> Those junior programmes are not only silly and futile, but harm the young talent and F1 itself as well.

      How? Inflammatory comment followed by inflammatory comment. The opposite of constructive.

      >> If an F1 team wants to hire a rookie – every single driver in the world would want to be hired, young or experienced. But there’s at most one or two seats for a rookie every single year in F1 – if that! Very often there is none.

      Yes, this is true. But if anything it’s even more reason to have a YDP as you want to ensure those seats when available so go to appropriately prepared and experienced drivers.

      >> And with those junior programmes, young prospects get entangled in long-term contracts with teams and their sponsors without actually competing in F1, which block them from possibly driving for other teams/brands – in and outside of F1 – if an opportunity arises and block their spots for other young drivers as well.

      This is also true. And the most agreeable part of the comment. Honestly, could have just done with this point.

      >> This ordeal only makes the whole thing more congested and static.

      I don’t really know what this means. I don’t see how a young driver program makes this worse. If anything it’s the pay drivers that show up without having gone through an entirely merit-based YDP taking spots that would be available to YDP drivers that is making things worse. Not the YDP themselves.

      1. Also surprises about the criticism of the YDPs knowing that some of the best talent arrived in F1 through this (and potentially wouldn’t have made it without the support).
        More teams though would be very welcome. It creates more seats for talent and more competition in the mid and lower field which requires teams to go for talent rather than driver sponsorship.

    5. some racing fan
      22nd September 2021, 7:31

      That Russian GP track looks much better than Sochi (but then again, that isn’t saying much),
      and it’s proximity to the Finnish border and St.
      Petersburg (apparently the best city in Russia to visit) is a good thing, and hopefully hey can have this race in August before the 4-week break, and move Hungary to June or
      something. But compared to other tracks s on the calendar it looks fairly average.

      1. @some racing fan Igora could form a double-header with Hungary if teams use trucks for that circuit.
        Northern Hemisphere summer is the only suitable time temp-wise, so holding within this phase is effectively a must.

    6. The COTD is terribly wrong for one simple reason: these programs provide the funding the drivers need to even be able to compete in the junior series. Without them we’d only have Latifis and Mazepins. Many drivers would have never made it to F1 without a young driver program supporting them.

      When you make an investment on someone it’s not illogical to have contractual rights.

      1. @afonic Expect one can’t force someone to stay if he wants to leave.

    7. I’m surprised only now rather than earlier/early enough for getting done in time for next season, which is probably why 2023 in the first place.

      Re Carlin tweet: Hopefully, nothing terrible will happen weather-wise, given the forecast.

      COTD has a valid point. Red Bull’s driver program has worked the best, predominantly through having an actual 2nd team.

    8. Igora Drive extension is basically Catalunya.

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