Sochi Autodrom, previously known as the Sochi International Street Circuit delivered Russia’s first-ever F1 race on the 12th of October 2014. The Russian circuit has been designed by Tilke Gmbh & Co., the head of which, Hermann Tilke, is the creator of most of the modern Formula 1 tracks. The circuit is the 4th longest in the F1 calendar, coming behind Belgium’s Spa, Britain’s Silverstone and Azerbaijan’s Baku City Circuit. Integrated into the Olympic Park that was built for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, the Sochi Autodrom is the only Russian circuit that is open all year round and also features permanent team buildings located opposite team garages. Apart from F1 races, the circuit also hosts Formula 2 and 3 races. The track’s race control building has a video control system with Real-Time Full HD technology, consisting of 56 screens. The video surveillance system is based on 45 Speed Dome trackside cameras.
Sochi Autodrom measures 5.848 km and the racers cover a distance of 309.475 km after competing for 53 laps on the track. Lewis Hamilton holds the fastest lap record at the track, clocking the circuit in 1:35.761. The course consists of 18 turns with 12 right and 6 left turns and has 2 DRS zones. Many of the corners are 90-degree turns and the most iconic is the 750m left hander that winds around the outside of the Poyushchiye fountain.
The lap begins with a blazing 900m dash with the racers flying through the Turn 1 with DRS and hard braking into the first 90-degree right hander (Turn 2) with fans watching them from the Vitaly Petrov T2 grandstand. Turn 3 requires a good exit from the Turn 2 and is the most iconic part of the track as the drivers race through a 750m stretch of tarmac that wraps around the outside of the Poyushchiye fountain and is then followed by the drivers preparing to lunge into the right handed Turn 4. Turn 5 needs a bit of tricky braking as the racers find a little bit of a uphill run on the exit. Drivers rush past the slightly right handed Turn 6 and then get on the brakes to turn right into the Turn 7. Entering the Turn 8 (left hander), the drivers keep a good line on the exit as they dash through the Turn 9 and the Adler Arena. Falling into Turn 10, which is not a 90-degree corner, the racers want to get a good exit through there as it is followed by a long straight with DRS zone. Turn 12 is a good place for overtaking opponents but is followed by a tricky braking corner in the right handed Turn 13 which is quickly followed by the Turn 14 where getting the apex is very important. Turn 15 is a off-banked corner where the drivers tend to watch their rear and then try to get a good exit through the chicane (Turn 16). Exiting the Turn 16, the racers are flying past the backside of their pitstops and then brake into the 90-degree right handed Turn 17, followed quickly by the Turn 18, where the want to get a clean line and then zoom towards the chequered flag.
The circuit has 5 grandstands, with the main 6-storey grandstand overlooking the start and the finish of the race, battles in turns 1 and 18, as well as in turns 14, 15 and 16. Following the main grandstand, comes the Sergey Sirotkin T1 grandstand situated at the turn 1. Apart from offering great view of the start-finish straight, the fans can also see the racers going through the turns 14, 15 and 16. Then at the outer side of the turn 2 is the Vitaly Petrov T2 grandstand which offers a view of the racers flooring the throttle and then braking hard into the T2. On the sidelines of the turn 3 is the Daniil Kvyat T3 grandstand from where the spectators can see the battle going on in the 180-degree left hander. Spectators on the T4 grandstand overlook the exit of the turn 3 and entry into the turn 4 and also can see the racers accelerating into the turn 5.