From the familiarity of Suzuka, teams have travelled to Russia for a new race at the Sochi Autodrom track, another designed by Hermann Tilke.
With 18 corners, Sochi is a step into the unknown – as is the case with any new circuit – and has been likened to a mix between the Valencia street circuit and Korean International Circuit. Its key statistics are very similar to those of Suzuka visited not even a week ago – 18 turns, a 5.8km track and 53 laps to be completed on Sunday. Last time out Lewis Hamilton beat team-mate Nico Rosberg to extend his championship lead to ten points. Of course the race was won under very difficult circumstances and 21 drivers have travelled from Japan to Russia with their thoughts preoccupied by Jules Bianchi who remains in hospital after a very serious accident. They will all race with stickers dedicated to the French driver on their helmets.
Circuit: Sochi Autodrom
Number of Laps: 53
Circuit Length: 5.848km
Number of Corners: 18
Lap Record: N/A
Previous Russian Grand Prix winners still on the grid: N/A
Most Successful Team: N/A
DRS Zones: 2
Pirelli Tyres: Medium and Soft
The track features long straights and low to medium speed corners, meaning it will require downforce in the higher regions of the scale. Pirelli have brought their medium and soft tyres for the weekend. For Mercedes there is an opportunity to wrap up the constructors championship if they score 25 points.
Racing has taken place before in Russia – pre-F1 back in the early 1900s – and this year the weekend will feature not one but two Russian drivers. Daniil Kvyat – who is set to step up to Red Bull for 2015 – drives for Toro Rosso while Sergey Sirotkin will be driving in FP1 for Sauber. Elsewhere, Catherham have confirmed that Kamui Kobayashi will once again race for them while Roberto Mehri will take part in FP1 again. For Marussia, it is a very difficult weekend and Alexander Rossi has been registered to drive for the team for the weekend, should they decide they will run both cars.