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Sochi Circuit on track for 2014 Russian Grand Prix - April 18, 2013 by admin

the Sochi circuit as it will appear in 2014

How the finished track will appear: Image from Formula Sochi



Many thought the plans to build the Sochi Circuit and the Winter Olympics venue on the same site, and to host the 2014 Winter Olympics and inaugural Russian Grand Prix in the Black Sea port in the same year, were ambitious. The race promoter, Formula Sochi’s’, Operations Director Oleg Zabara has given an update however confirming that things are on schedule with work taking place 24 hours a day on the track.


At one point it had been planned that the track surface would only be placed after the Winter Olympics in February, with the Russian Grand Prix planned for Autumn 2014 at the Sochi Olympic Park, with much of the same infrastructure set to be used. Next week though David Coulthard and Sebastian Vettel will sample a section of the track for Infiniti; in an event similar to that held on the streets of Port Imperial that will hold the Grand Prix of America next year.


According to Zabara “Now the construction project goes with two main directions – track surface is first, while buildings are second,…..The first layer of asphalt has been laid on 60 per cent of the 5.8 km lap. We simply can’t do more just now because of Olympic stadiums and pedestrian bridges.”


The really hard work then will presumably begin after the Winter Olympics at Sochi Olympic Park in February when the contractors will have around 7 months to complete the circuit ready for the 2014 Russian Grand Prix, which is likely to take place in September or October, potentially as the last race in Europe before the fly away races. Which race will lose its place on the calender in 2014 remains to be seen but the Hungarian Grand Prix would appear to be the front runner.

Sochi Olympic Park circuit on track - July 19, 2012 by admin
Images of the Sochi circuit so far haven't been much to get excited aboutPhoto by Omega2014

Images of the Sochi circuit so far haven't been much to get excited about, Photo by Omega2014

The 2014 Russian Grand Prix should go ahead and it seems that rumours of delays to 2015 are just that rumours. The ambition of the project, where the 2014 Winter Olympics will be held at Sochi, a Black Sea resort, and then the Olypmpic Park will be transformed into a Formula One circuit in months, may be what led to these rumours along with few updates and images showing little progress

 

New Sochi chief Alexander Bogdanov though intends to put a stop to future rumours with more updates and has told media that “right now is a very active phase of construction”: hopefully this means we will soon be seeing images other than those that are computer generated then, though new images of early construction work were released in May.

 

Although the asphalt for the circuit won’t be put down on the track until after the Winter Olympics early in 2014 almost all the buildings used for the Russian Grand Prix including the Pit Building, Medical Centre and Paddock buildings will be used for the Winter Olympics as well so they will be in place.

 

With the Circuit of the Americas in Texas only now finishing the first layer of asphalt now for their race in November if laying the track really will be the only major job post Olympics at Sochi this shouldn’t be an issue and the circuit has certainly had enough lead time: being confirmed in 2010 before the New Jersey Race scheduled for 2013 and the United States Grand Prix at Austin scheduled for this year.

Prost on French and Russian Grand Prix - February 27, 2012 by admin

 

New Renault ambassador Alain Prost , photo courtesy of MEDEF

New Renault ambassador Alain Prost , photo courtesy of MEDEF

Four time world champion Alain Prost has become an ambassador for Renault, he spent the 81, 82 and 83 seasons with the Renault team and won a total of 9 races. The press conferences and interviews he has already given and what he has to say about the French and Russian Grand Prix though are of more interest to us than anything he has to say about Renault themselves, now only really an engine supplier to F1.

 

On the French Grand Prix unsurprisingly Alain is enthusiastic, like most of us though he would rather that the solution was a seperate French and Belgian Grand Prix every year rather than the shared race between the two, where they will host a race in alternate years. Prost had been involved in the project to bring the French Grand Prix to the vicinity of Paris though, despite backing from the French governement and prime minister it failed and the race is of course going topre existing circuit  Paul Ricard near Marseilles instead.

Nicholas Prost in the 2010 Renault at Paul Ricard

Nicholas Prost in the 2010 Renault at Paul Ricard, photo by Nicholas Garcia

 

As for the Russian Grand Prix at the new, yet to be built, Sochi circuit Alain Prost was in Russia last week for the first time and claims that the Sochi race will be a major milestone. With Formula One going to new venues across the world every year pretty much it would be easy for the Russian Grand Prix to be considered in similar terms to India or Korea. Back in 1986 though when communist Hungary first hosted a Grand Prix, replacing Apartheid South Africa, it was a major milestone and Prost thinks that the symbol of commercialism and consumerism that is Formula One, going to Russia for the first time is huge saying ‘ for me, it’s not just another Formula One race’.

 

Again though Prost’s opinions match that of many fans when it comes to using Tilke as the designer for the Sochi circuit, “If we had more than one designer, that would be better, because you can always find new ideas and do something different” he said.

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