Russian Grand Prix: Sochi Autodrom

2014 Russian Grand Prix
2014 Russian Grand Prix ( /

The Sochi Autodrom is the iconic racetrack that is held in Russia. Like several other racetracks throughout the world, it surrounds the former Olympic Park, that was used to hold the 2014 Winter Olympics and is another sign of growth for Russian sports on the whole. 

The race takes place in the back end of September. Temperatures are usually much cooler than most Formula 1 tracks, especially considering that it’s run just a couple of weeks after one of the hottest, which is held in Singapore. Construction on the track started in 2011 and they were awarded their Grand Prix status in 2014 as part of a 7-year contract. 


Swap Start/End

Circuit Info

Location Length Corners Capacity Year Opened
Sochi 5.848km 18 55,000 2014

Circuit Layout

F1 Sochi Autodrom Russia Track Map

Measuring 5.848km in total, the track is the 4th longest in Formula 1. Its length may be an area that they have tried to improve over the years, but it’s very much regarded as one of the sterner tests of the year, for both driver and car. Only Spa, Baku city and Silverstone have bigger tracks in terms of length. 

Whilst the track has been under construction for several years, it was decided that the laying of the surface would not be installed until after the closing ceremony, ensuring that they were able to get the best possible finish. 

For those that are clued up with their F1 architecture, it probably comes as little surprise to hear that the head guy behind the layout is that of Hermann Tilke. He’s now worked on several of the F1 tracks in current rotation and what’s been a major selling point of his work is that he works closely with the FIA to ensure that not only are these tracks exciting, but also conform to strict safety regulations that are now in place. 

The Olympic Park and Olympic village still play a big role in the make-up of the track, with many aspects being visible from the track. Tilke stated he was keen to incorporate these landmarks and saw them as a way in which the sports could combine, to make a ‘sporting village’ rather just an Olympic Park. 

An interesting fact of the circuit is that over 1.7km is actually shared with public roads, allowing you to drive through parts of the track when race weeks aren’t on. This allows for visitors to come and see aspects of the circuits up close, similar to that of the likes of the Monaco and Singapore Grand Prix’s, to name just a couple. 

The track itself is one of the most balanced tracks in F1. By this we mean that it offers a good number of straights and corners for the cars to negotiate around. 

The start finish line actually heads almost immediately into a fairly innocuous right-hand turn. When racing the turn requires very little racing, but at the start it means that cars can often become compact and a poor racing line means they will struggle heading into turn 2.

Turn 2 is sharp right hander and is the first time that drivers get a decent chance to make some overtakes. It’s followed by a small left hand turn before sweeping round into turn 4 before another 90 degree at turn. 

The middle section of the track is the most compact and also the toughest for drivers to navigate through. The straights, whilst plenty of them, are fairly short meaning it’s tough for drivers to get up a decent head of speed before hitting the next corner. 

Following another tight right hander at turn 11, the cars then get a chance to stretch their legs and through sweeping turns 12 and 13. Turn 13 through to 17 offers the greatest opportunity of overtaking throughout the track and series of ‘s’ bends and hairpins means that the pace of the cars are severely restricted. 

The final two bends at 18 and 19 looks fairly straight forward, but it’s here that drivers simply must get a good racing line in order to take advantage of the pit straight and the longest DRS zone. 

Recent Winners

YearDriverCarFastest Lap
2017 Valterri Bottas Mercedes 1.37.312
2016 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1.39.094
2015 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1.40.573
2014 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1.41.606

Other Races at the Sochi Autodrom

Sochi Autodrom, 2014
Sochi Autodrom, 2014 (CaterhamF1 /

The Sochi site has been able to host a good number of other races as well as the F1 Grand Prix. These include the likes of the FIA Formula 2 Championship, GP3 Series, TCR International Series, Russian Touring Car Championship and the GP2 Series. 


2014 Reconstruction at Sochi Autodrom
2014 Reconstruction at Sochi Autodrom (Sergei Kazantsev /

The racetrack’s plans were first set about in 2011, but they were ordered as part of the development of the Olympic village. In fact, the IOC (International Olympic Committee) were given the power to delay any works on the track should the Olympic Park look to be struggling to be ready for the 2014 Winter Olympics. 


In the end, this wasn’t needed, and work was carried out on time and ready for the 2014 Grand Prix. The government had invested over $195 million in total to create the track, which was reported to have come in on budget. 

The work to simply stage any Russian Grand Prix was one that gone on for decades. The Russian Federation had been campaigning to get a Grand Prix hosted in the country since 1983, but due to political and bureaucratic reasons, each bid was simply knocked back. 

F1 in Russia

The initial plans were formed for Moscow to host the first Grand Prix, which would have been known as the ‘Grand Prix of the Soviet Union’. As stated, this didn’t work out, but Bernie Ecclestone’s decision to allow Hungary to be the first communist country to host a Grand Prix in 1986 was hoped to have opened the door to Russia. 

Whilst the history of the track is relatively short, with 4 running’s in total at the time of writing, Englishman, Lewis Hamilton, has won 2 of those races, both in his Mercedes. President Putin was on hand to award the trophy to Hamilton at the inaugural Grand Prix in 2014.