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Russian Grand Prix Preview

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The Sochi Autodrom

As many will probably point out, the semi-permanent racing facility built around the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics was one of the causes of last year’s underwhelming display. Made up of 90-degree turn after 90-degree turn, the circuit has been seen by fans and experts alike as a prime example of what one would call a “tilkedrome”, a term that quickly came to be considered derogatory when it comes to describing Formula 1 circuits. A “tilkedrome” is, for those who don’t know, a racing circuit designed by Formula 1 architect Hermann Tilke, who has been subjected to constant doses of criticism for coming up with downright boring track layouts and for butchering existing historic circuits.

Additionally, the track is often seen in the media as built for the sole purpose of saving the now almost completely devoid of any kind of activity Olympic Park from being rendered completely useless to the Russian authorities.

For all the bad rep that it gets, The Sochi Autodrom, nevertheless, provides a challenge for both man and machine. Around 60% of the track distance is taken flat-out by the drivers and the numerous 90-degree turns put the brakes under significant pressure. Another notable concern is fuel usage. The high-speed nature of the track coupled with the heavy breaking and acceleration into and from the corners will require the drivers to keep an eye on their fuel usage and manage it efficiently.

The circuit is the third longest on the calendar after Spa and Silverstone, having 19 turns in total out of which 12 are right-handers and 7 are left-handers. It’s also quite wide, providing plenty of room for overtaking manuevres. There are two DRS zones: one on the start-finish straight and another, slighlty longer one, after Turn 10.

Formula One McLaren mercedes Russia Sochi Grand Prix

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