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Old 9th October 2015, 09:38   #1
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Default 2015 Formula 1 Russian GP - Sochi

2015 Formula 1 Russian GP - Sochi-title1.png

The Sochi circuit, located in the Black Sea resort of the same name in an area known as the Russian Riviera, is the first purpose-built Formula One facility in Russia and hosted the country's inaugural Grand Prix in October 2014, in the same year that the city also staged the Winter Olympics.

2015 Formula 1 Russian GP - Sochi-stadium.jpg

Sochi is a cultural hub, with a world class opera house, art museums and fascinating architecture.

2015 Formula 1 Russian GP - Sochi-fly-past.jpg

Like in 2014, Russia is planning on putting up a great show this weekend. Natalie Imbruglia will be taking to the stage as the headline act of the Russian Grand Prix concerts on Saturday night.

2015 Formula 1 Russian GP - Sochi-crowd.jpg

The stage itself is nestled in the center of the bowl created by turn three and will also see performances by popular local Russian bands. The Iceberg Skating Palace is putting on an adaptation of the Opera Carmen on ice over the weekend. There will also be a martial arts competition, stunt riders show and street theater displays.

2015 Formula 1 Russian GP - Sochi-timing.png

The Russian Grand Prix had been held twice, first in 1913 and in 1914 at a circuit in St. Petersburg, before the outbreak of the World War. They were both won by Benz drivers, with local man Georgy Suvorin taking victory in the inaugural race for his country. Grand Prix racing was abandoned in Russia with the establishment of the Soviet Union. Bernie Ecclestone attempted to bring racing back to Russia in the early 1980s and even included the “Grand Prix of the Soviet Union” in the provisional 1983 calendar, but these efforts did not bear fruit as Cold War tensions were still high and the Russian economy was struggling to stay afloat. It was beaten to the title of the first race behind the Iron Curtain by the (then communist) Hungarian Grand Prix in 1986. Efforts to restart negotiations to hold a race in Russia were reignited by President Vladimir Putin in 2001 with the start of construction of multiple tracks close to Moscow. None were successful in holding international motor racing until the Hermann Tilke designed Moscow Raceway, about 50 miles outside the capital which hosted Formula Renault, FIA GT1 and the Superbike World Championship in 2012.
It was the development of the Black Sea resort city of Sochi for the Winter Olympics that really caught the imagination and Sochi's Formula One relationship formally began in October 2010, when an agreement to host a Grand Prix was signed between race promoters OJSC Center Omega and the Formula One group of companies, with the support of the Russian government and in the presence of Vladimir Putin.
Construction of the 5.848-kilometre, 55,000-capacity circuit came under the design supervision of renowned architect Hermann Tilke. The track is integrated into the Olympic Park infrastructure, with facilities located in close vicinity to the Olympic Park railway station and to the roads which connect the Olympic venues with Sochi International Airport.

2015 Formula 1 Russian GP - Sochi-putin-.jpg

The flamboyant Vladimir Putin stole the limelight in 2014, turning up half way through the race before taking a seat in a private section of the grandstand with Bernie to celebrate their triumph of bringing the race to Russia, before handing the victors trophy to Lewis Hamilton on the podium. At the end of the race Putin made his way to the cool down room to shake the victors hand but Hamilton accidentally ignored one of the most powerful men in the world. Lewis turned his back on Putin to take off his helmet and jump on the scales, then preferring to talk to Bernie and the other drivers before realizing who was stood rather awkwardly behind him.

The P Zero Yellow soft and P Zero Red supersoft tyres have been nominated for the Russian Grand Prix: a step softer than the inaugural race last year, when the medium and soft tyres were nominated. With no prior race data to go on in 2014, a deliberately conservative choice was made, but with real race information now available, a nomination more precisely suited to the exact characteristics of the track has been made.

2015 Formula 1 Russian GP - Sochi-track.jpg

The new asphalt surface is smooth, and together with mild weather and mostly medium-speed corners, this leads to generally low tyre wear and degradation.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “We’re very pleased to be coming back to Russia for the second Russian Grand Prix: a market that is crucial not only to ourselves but also every automotive manufacturer. There were a number of question marks that we faced coming to the Sochi circuit for the first time last year – as is inevitably the case with any new circuit – but we have since been able to collect extra data that means we have more information for 2015. As a result, we have gone a step softer with the tyre nomination this year to help us get back into the two to three pit stop window, which is what we desire for every race. However, both ourselves and all the teams are learning more about this circuit all the time, despite the advancement of simulation technology. The track has quite a wide variety of different corners, so it makes for a good all-round test for the tyres, with the drivers able to benefit from the extra speed of the supersoft this year.”
The biggest challenges for the tyres: Freshly laid asphalt often undergoes quite a radical change in its first year, particularly after going through a harsh winter season. However, track samples indicate that there has not been a major change in the characteristics of the Sochi asphalt from 2014 to 2015, with the surface remaining smooth and non-abrasive. With the circuit not being used extensively outside Formula One, a high degree of track evolution is expected, with a ‘green’ and slippery surface on Friday in particular. The most critical corner at Sochi is Turn 3 a long multi-apex left-hander that was inspired by the famous Turn 8 at Istanbul Park (which was also designed by Hermann Tilke). This stresses the front right tyre in particular. In total there are 12 right and six left-hand corners, with a 650-metre straight between the first and second turns.
The 5.848-kilometre track will be the third longest of the year, behind Spa and Silverstone. Around 1.7 of those kilometres are run on public roads, and the race will run for 53 laps. Ambient temperatures of 15 to 20 degrees centigrade are expected, limiting the effects of thermal degradation.
Expected performance gap between the two compounds: 0.8 – 1.0 seconds per lap.

What to expect in 2015?

Nico Rosberg was very fast here last year and was the form man.

2015 Formula 1 Russian GP - Sochi-2014-nico.jpg

The Russian Grand Prix winner last year was decided by a second corner incident between the two Mercedes drivers in Hamilton’s favour. Rosberg held the inside line into the first corner, but overcooked his braking into the second, locking both his front wheels and he sailed wide. He (controversially) retained his position but the flat-spots on the tyres meant he had to head straight for the pitlane, taking on the harder tyres for the rest of the race distance. He had to manage the tyres whilst being aggressive and pulled some excellent moves to recover to second position, once again showing the true dominance of the 2014 Mercedes car. Hoping for a better battle this time around.
Niki Lauda has warned that a repeat of his team’s Singapore disappointment is possible as the track surface is similar and the tyre allocation brought by Pirelli is more aggressive that last year, meaning that the tyres should play more of a role. Last year Rosberg was able to stay out on one set of tyres from lap two and finish second which should not be possible this time round.
As usual the Mercedes powered teams are likely to feature highly in proceedings this weekend as the circuit relies on traction and grunt to power rather than downforce with the relatively simple layout.
Romain Grosjean will be especially pumped up after signing for debutants Haas F1 next year. He has a fondness for this location as his grandfather competed in the 1948 and 1952 winter olympic skiiing events. Denial Kvyat will also be pumped up as he will be on his home soil.

Weather forecast:
Warm. The temperature is expected to be around 22 degrees and no rain is forecast. Sochi is a coastal location, with the Black Sea on one side and the Caucasus mountains on the other. Weather conditions can change rapidly but this race weekend is likely to be bathed in glorious sunshine as the region sees 200 days a year of sun.

Chances of a Safety Car: Low.
There was no Safety Car period during last year’s race

Track layout:

2015 Formula 1 Russian GP - Sochi-circuit-data.png

The layout is a classic Hermann Tilke design: it has 12 right-handers and six left-handers and the track is between 13 and 15 metres wide, which encourages drivers to take various lines through the corners. The longest straights are book-ended by slow corners to aid overtaking and the multi-apex left-hander at Turn Three is the circuit’s signature corner. The 5.853km/3.637-mile circuit was completed just 70 days ahead of last year’s inaugural Russian Grand Prix. It’s principally a street track, although there are some permanent sections around the start-finish straight, and the drivers reported last year that the track had a similar flow to Marina Bay in Singapore. The track width varies from 13 metres at its narrowest point to 15 metres at the start-finish line. The circuit, which runs in a clockwise direction, consists of 12 right- and six left-hand corners, and combines both high-speed and technical sections.

Race distance : 53 laps (full world championship points awarded after 75 per cent distance/40 laps)

Circuit length : 5.853km/3.637 miles

Run to Turn One : 450 metres/0.280 miles to Turn Two, the first braking zone

Longest straight : 650 metres/0.404 miles, on the approach to Turn Two

Top speed : 332km/h/206mph on the approach to Turn Two

DRS zones : Two – on the approach to Turn Two and again on the approach to Turn 13

Key corner : Turn Two, the best overtaking opportunity on the lap. The cars have to lose 205km/h (127mph) in less than 100m (0.06 miles), subjecting the drivers to more than 5g of deceleration load

Pitlane length : 330 metres (0.21 miles), which is average. A pitstop takes about 22s

Major changes for 2015 : A few changes to kerbs and one area of re-surfacing work

Fuel consumption : High. It’s a long lap with lots of short bursts of wide open throttle

Full throttle : 57 per cent. This is higher than the average for a street circuit

Brake wear : Average. Only 10 per cent of the lap is spent braking, which is low.
The most critical aspect, with regard to the braking system, is linked to the correct sizing of air intakes that ensure the optimum operating temperature for the brakes. Turn two is considered the most challenging for the braking system.

Gear changes : 40 per lap/2,120 per race

2014 winner : Lewis Hamilton 53 laps in 1h:31m50.744s

2014 pole position : Lewis Hamilton 1m38.513s 213.705km/h (132.790mph)

2014 fastest lap : Valtteri Bottas lap 53 1m40.896 208.658km/h (129.654mph)

Constructors Championship Standings:
2015 Formula 1 Russian GP - Sochi-constructors.png

Drivers Championship Standings:
2015 Formula 1 Russian GP - Sochi-drivers-standings.png
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Old 9th October 2015, 09:49   #2
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Default re: 2015 Formula 1 Russian GP - Sochi

Russia preview quotes:

Will Stevens
“I’m really looking forward to the challenge of Sochi. I was here last year in my role as Reserve Driver, so I walked the track and observed the task of getting to grips with it from afar. It’s quite useful having two different drivers as a benchmark this past few races, and of course it is Roberto back in the other seat for this race, rather than Alex. This is a really technical track and I can’t wait to get my first experience of it on Friday.”
Roberto Merhi
“I can’t wait to be back in the car in Sochi this weekend. It’s the first time I have raced here, but last year I took part in the FP1 session, so I have some understanding of the circuit characteristics and this will be helpful for me after a couple of races out of the car. I’ve continued to work very closely with the team during track sessions and engineering meetings, so I have a very good appreciation of the work we have completed and I’m eager to get stuck into the programme and to make the most of my two races, in Sochi and Abu Dhabi.”
John Booth, Team Principal
“The debut race in Sochi last year was something of a voyage into the unknown for all of the teams. For us, it was an even greater challenge, given our difficult circumstances. For me personally, this will be my first visit, so, in many ways, we approach the race afresh this weekend. The lap here is very long, second only to Spa and Silverstone, and it is a very technical layout with plenty of hard braking zones leading into slow corners. It will be good to have Roberto back in the car here for the first of his two remaining races with us, and I’m sure Will is going to be pushing hard to reverse the disappointments of the last couple of races.”

Toro Rosso
Max Verstappen

"Sochi looks like an interesting track. It should suit our car well so hopefully we can have another strong weekend. I've never raced there, but we've done some good work on the sim so I'm familiar with the track. I look forward to driving there in real life, it seems like a circuit where there's room for overtaking and hopefully this time I won't have to start from the back again! I raced in Moscow last year in Formula 3 and ended up on the podium twice that weekend, so I have good memories - but we need to practice our Russian a bit more before we arrive!"
Carlos Sainz
"I also like the idea of racing around the Olympic Park, it's something unusual. I always follow the Olympics! I also raced there last year during my Formula Renault 3.5 season. It should be a good weekend for us and hopefully we can continue to fight for points. We need to catch Lotus and overtake them in the championship!"

Valtteri Bottas

“We had a good result last year in Russia so we’re expecting another strong weekend and a good collection of points. We all know the track now and it has a really good flow, with the long straights a good fit for our car. The fans were passionate last year so we look forward to putting on another good show for them. Pace wise we were close to Mercedes in Japan and I think we can be close again in Sochi, just like we were in 2014.”
Felipe Massa
“Russia is a very nice track with a few long straights which makes it interesting for overtaking. The circuit has almost everything, starting with a straight and then moving into high-speed corners and then very slow corners in the middle sector. This makes setting up the car really important and the importance of downforce evident. I hope to make amends for qualifying last year and I’m confident we can have a competitive race.”
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering
“The objectives for the championship are fairly clear. We are looking to reduce the gap to the teams in front and extend the gap to the teams behind and we hope to further realise those goals in Russia. The facilities in Sochi are excellent considering it’s a new track and we are hoping for another good race, with plenty of overtaking like last year. The track has some quick straights and low speed corners, so the compromise on downforce has to be correct. Sochi is a circuit that suits our car with high power and drag sensitivities. We managed to have a good weekend last year from a performance point of view and we will be looking to build on this.”

Fernando Alonso

"It's exciting to go back to Sochi, one of the newest racetracks we go to, which means there's always a lot of anticipation. Last year's grand prix was a fantastic event and it was good to bring Formula 1 to a completely new territory and race in front of a new group of excited fans.
"Suzuka was clearly a challenging race for us, but the support of the fans was incredible and we were still able to take some positives from it. We're working hard on reliability and it was encouraging that we didn't have any issues with the car all weekend.
"Sochi is a great track and the street circuit layout and tight, precise corners make it really enjoyable to drive. The two straights are long and high-speed which means it won't be easy for us, but our car is very well balanced, so I hope we can have some good battles and make some good progress on track this weekend."
Jenson Button
"Suzuka was a challenging race for us because of the nature of the track, but racing in Japan in front of Honda's home crowd was an incredible experience and it really lifted everyone's spirits.
"I'm really pleased that my plans for next year have been confirmed – I'm fully committed to this team and have strong faith in the incredibly hard work that's going on behind the scenes in Woking and Sakura. We'll keep our heads down and keep pushing hard to improve our car at every race weekend.
"In Sochi, I had one of my best results of the year last season, and really enjoyed driving on a new track. The surface has a lot of grip, so I'm looking forward to seeing how our tyres perform there. We'll work closely with our guys on both sides of the garage to get the most out of every session and iron out some of the issues we had in Suzuka."
Eric Boullier, racing director, McLaren-Honda
"After the challenges and emotion of Suzuka, it's been a very important week for the McLaren-Honda team. We've announced a new partner for the 2016 season and beyond, Chandon, and confirmed that Jenson will be continuing to race with us next year. Both of these announcements are incredibly motivating for the whole team, and we go to Sochi with renewed enthusiasm and excitement.
"Last year's Russian Grand Prix was an unquestionable success, and the organisers worked very hard to put on a well-organised event in front of packed grandstands of passionate fans. We had a strong weekend there last year, and, while we know the limitations of our package, we are continuing to work tirelessly on our reliability and performance to achieve the best result we can.
"There's still a long way to go until the end of the season, and every weekend counts as an opportunity to learn, develop and apply our knowledge and experience to next year's car. Sochi will be no different."
Yasuhisa Arai, Honda R&D senior managing officer - chief officer of motorsport
"Sochi will be a completely new track for Honda so it will surely be an exciting challenge as we are starting from scratch regarding data settings.
"It is a very unique and modern track, where cars can race side by side for the first half of the lap, then close in with tricky 90-degree slow- to mid-speed corners and intense straights for the latter half. This type of track layout is likely to be demanding on our power units, but as usual the team will work hard to get the best out of the overall package. It will be interesting to see what we can learn from this weekend."

Lewis Hamilton

"Suzuka was a really special weekend for me and another fantastic result for the team. Everyone is doing such an incredible job once again this season and every bit of this success is well deserved. The car was unbelievable to drive in Japan, so hopefully it'll be more of the same at the remaining races - starting in Sochi. Last year was the first experience I'd had of Russia in my racing career and we had a great race there. The circuit is really well put together - quite long, with some interesting corners and opportunities to overtake. Hopefully now fans have seen what a great facility they have there and how beautiful Sochi is, we'll see plenty more people in the stands this year too. It was great to win the first race for Formula One in Russia and a fantastic moment for the team to take the title there last time out. Fingers crossed we can add to those great memories again this weekend - I'll be pushing as hard as I can to make that happen."
Nico Rosberg
"Once I got back from Japan, I was able to focus on the positive elements from my weekend in Suzuka: pole position, the on-track pass on Bottas and then having the speed to undercut Vettel's Ferrari at the second pit-stop. I'm not backing down in my fight for the championship and gaining those positions back fair and square showed that. We have five races to go and, although the championship gap to Lewis is quite big, in my mind it's definitely not over yet. The way the whole team has performed this year - from the factories to the garage - has been just incredible and I have the car I need to get back to the top step. I really enjoyed our first trip to Russia last year and it was an awesome weekend for the team - one that I will always remember after seeing all the hard work they've put in during my time here. So, I'm aiming to put all those tools they've given me to good use and bring home a top result."
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"Japan was an important weekend for the team. We had to hit back strongly after Singapore and that objective was achieved on all fronts - in the cockpit and in the garage. While we take satisfaction from these successes, however, we do not lose sight of our failures. There are still many obstacles left to overcome this season and we must continue to tackle them with full force. We return to Russia with positive memories from last season, when the team sealed the first Constructors' title for Mercedes-Benz with a 1-2 finish. A repeat performance in Sochi would be fantastic and this is absolutely the target - but we are under no illusions that it will come easy. The job is not done yet."
Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)
"Suzuka was a very pleasing weekend after the disappointment of Singapore. The team and drivers did a great job to bring home a top result and we now head to Sochi aiming to repeat that feat. This was a tricky weekend last season, with a new circuit to learn and fresh tarmac which produced slightly unusual behaviour from the tyres. This year we have moved one step softer on the compounds to bring the soft and supersoft into play - perhaps influenced by Nico running almost the entire race last year on a single set of tyres. One year on, the track surface will have weathered differently so we must ensure we have all eventualities covered. The 2014 Russian Grand Prix - the first for a century, of course, and the inaugural running of the event during the Formula One era - was very well organised and saw a good crowd for what is a growing market in the sport. We look forward to seeing our Russian fans out in force again and hope to put on a good show."

Force India
Sergio Perez

"I scored a point in Sochi last year and I'm looking forward to racing there again. They did a really nice job with the track and there are some interesting corners, especially the long left-hand turn three - in qualifying last year we were taking it flat. In some ways the Sochi track reminds me of Singapore and Abu Dhabi. That's because there are lots of 90 degree corners and acceleration zones, which put high energy through the rear tyres. There are some quick parts of the lap too. I remember last year that turn 12 was quite difficult because you are pulling high g-forces and braking for turn 13 at the same time.
"We saw last year that overtaking wasn't easy and it was a one-stop race for most cars. This year the tyres are a step softer so perhaps that will mix up the strategy options a bit more."
Nico Hulkenberg
"The result in Suzuka was just what I needed after a few unlucky weekends since the summer break. We had good pace, we did our homework and we achieved all we could from the race. It was very satisfying to see how competitive we were and that's given me a confidence boost for the races to come.
"I had my first experience of Russia last year and enjoyed it. The unusual venue inside the Olympic Park is pretty cool and the track itself has a nice flow. The lap is quite long, with many similar corners, and that adds to the difficulty of putting together a perfect lap. The final sector is quite technical and is a big challenge for the drivers."
Vijay Mallya, team principal
"I'm feeling optimistic as we approach the final couple of months of the season. In Singapore and Japan we continued to show competitive pace and, despite missing the chance to score with both cars, we remain in a solid fifth place in the championship.
"Russia will give us another chance to unleash more potential from the B-spec car. Even at this late stage of the season we continue to bring new parts to the car thanks to all the hard work back at the factory. "There's every reason to believe we can be competitive in Sochi and we expect to be up there fighting for good points."

Marcus Ericsson

"Last season the Russian Grand Prix was my last race both with Caterham and for the year. Qualifying wasn't so bad, and then I also had a decent race. So I have good memories of this track. Hopefully the second Russian race will be a positive weekend for me with the Sauber C34-Ferrari. But we have to work hard to optimise our updates that we have brought to Singapore, and try to make them work even better. And, of course, our aim is to score points again."
Felipe Nasr
"The track in Sochi is again another circuit on which I will drive my first laps in a Formula One car. But I know it from last year's GP2 races. I have quite good memories from this weekend after finishing one of the races on the podium. The circuit itself is a bit of a mix between a permanent and a street track. It is impressive that it has been built in the centre of the Olympic Park, which makes it an interesting environment. The circuit itself consists mainly of low and medium-speed corners. Therefore, braking stability as well as traction is very important. During the weekend we will continue to work on evaluating our aero package."
Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering
"The circuit in Sochi, which was new to the calendar one year ago, is regarded in our team as one of the kindest on the tyres due to its special surface, the absence of very high speed corners and the cool ambient temperatures. On this basis, Pirelli has chosen the soft and supersoft compounds, as opposed to the medium and soft that were used one year ago: it will be interesting to reassess what that means for the car's set-up and race strategy. The track itself runs through the park used for the 2014 Winter Olympics and is, to a large extent, surrounded by walls, yet it can't really be considered a typical street circuit. The straight-line performance, traction and braking dominates the first and the last sectors, whereas the middle one is more technical and requires the drivers to find their rhythm through the flow of the corners."

Red Bull
Daniil Kvyat

“I would describe it as a classic modern-style track. But what’s really important is that there is quite a lot of room for overtaking, which usually makes for good racing. It does have some quite interesting, quite unusual sections. There are some challenging braking areas, in Turn 13 for example. Also Turn 4 is quite tough. I would characterise it as a very technical circuit. It probably doesn’t really have a standout, balls-out corner, it really does make you think a lot and it takes some time to work out the best way round it. Having said that, it’s my home race and I enjoy it a lot. The atmosphere last year was fantastic, there were so many fans giving me support. It really feels awesome to be there.
“[Last year] qualifying was great but the race was just... how can I say this… well, it was cr*p. We had problems with fuel consumption during the race and it was just a really disappointing day. I’m hoping we will be able to give the fans there something more to cheer about this year.
"Sometimes you do get some strong attention but that’s part of the game and what you have to take from it is that the attention comes from the fact that perhaps you have been doing something good, which is a positive. You have to understand that the fans are coming out to support you and that is something quite special - I’m happy to have the attention, it gives you a bit of a lift.”
Daniel Ricciardo
“The organisers have done a really good job with the facilities - everything is top notch! They’ve put in really good grandstands around the stadium section for fans, and that generates a good atmosphere. But in the car it’s 90-degree corner - straight - 90-degree corner - straight, so in terms of driver satisfaction it’s a little flat. [Sochi itself is] surprising! Really liked the beach. But I would say that, wouldn’t I?”

Romain Grosjean

“It would be fantastic to shake up the order again and get a really strong result, and that’s honestly what we’re always trying to do. It’s a pretty decent circuit and it will be interesting to see how it’s matured. Certainly the track surface will have changed and it will have settled somewhat. We struggled massively for grip last year, but we’ve got a softer tyre allocation from Pirelli, the performance of which we should be better equipped to maximise. It will be a good exercise for us to see if we can give a better performance than our first Russian Grand Prix.
“For me it was special to race at the site of an Olympic Games. I’m a huge fan of the Olympics and especially the Winter Olympics, because my grandfather competed in skiing events at the 1948 and 1952 events. The facility itself was fantastic and the track really well engineered. The entire site had its own unique flavour. It’s always great to see how an event matures and I know we have many Russian fans. It would be superb to see as many as possible there supporting us.
“It’s a pretty cool track actually with a useful number of straights and some big braking. You’ve got turn three which is just about flat out which is good fun. The corners flow well together with the final section a bit more tight and twisty. Last year was hard to get the tyres working, this year the Pirelli allocation is softer. Looking outside of the driver requirements, the facilities are really nice and the paddock is a friendly size so it’s a good one to work in.
Pastor Maldonado
“[Last year] it was a great and amazing event, really well organised and with a good attendance. It was a special experience to arrive at a new country for Formula One - and a new country for me - then see strong immediate support like we did. I’m looking forward to returning and seeing how they built upon their strong first event.
There are very many corners, with a couple of sections of stop and go. It’s quite a long lap and a reasonably technical one too. If you make a small mistake in one corner, you are punished for the rest of the lap. If you’re off line for one corner, it might not be until one of the straights that you can recover. Off-line is very slippery too so you’re doubly punished! Every single part of this track is important! In terms of enjoyment, I like the first sector the most, but it’s a good track overall.
“It will be much easier this year. Last year was all about discovery and learning; this year we should be several steps forward so be able to unlock more pace quicker.”
Federico Gastaldi, deputy team principal
“Sochi was a brand new event in 2014 and certainly exciting for everyone attending. F1 is a global spectacle and it shows the strength of the sport that we race in Russia. We have a very good Russian Formula One driver in the sport with Daniil Kvyat and at Enstone we had the first ever Russian F1 driver - our friend Vitaly Petrov - so we understand the market and enjoy the support we get from Russia.”
Nick Chester, technical director
“We know that the surface is very smooth and last year we struggled generating temperature with the tyres, partly through the smooth surface and partly through what was a conservative tyre allocation. Pirelli’s softer allocation for this year along with the more weathered track surface and our better knowledge of the circuit should mean we fare far better in this regard. In terms of its needs, we know that it’s a track that is quite power and traction-sensitive. The layout presents a lot of slow speed corners and long straights. Braking down into Turn thirteen is very severe and you come out of the kink before you brake so it is a difficult corner to get right. Overall, the whole track is quite technical, so it certainly a challenging one for the drivers.
“The weather can be quite unusual in Sochi as you have the mountains on one side and the sea on the other. There’s potential for a reasonable mix of weather in the week ahead so we’ll be kept on our toes.”
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Default re: 2015 Formula 1 Russian GP - Sochi

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DRIVERS PRESS CONFERENCE– Romain GROSJEAN (Lotus), Daniil KVYAT (Red Bull Racing), Carlos SAINZ (Toro Rosso), Nico ROSBERG (Mercedes), Felipe MASSA (Williams), Fernando ALONSO (McLaren)

Some interesting questions & answers with ALO.

Daniil, can we start with you. Your home race, obviously. Last year you had a great qualifying performance in fifth and this year you’ve finished six of the last seven races in a higher position than you started, so with the soft and supersoft combination of tyres we saw in Singapore, do you feel this should be another chance for a podium?
Daniil KVYAT: Well, first of all, I think it’s nice to be home in Russia and it’s great to have a home grand prix I think, so we can feel the support from the local fans. Talking about our chances, I think obviously it’s not the easiest track for us, probably it’s not suiting us as good as Singapore or Hungary, but I still think that as has been proven you always have to keep pushing and things can come towards us. There are a few long straights here, which probably don’t suit us so well, however we will keep pushing; we will try to maximise our potential, find the right compromise and who knows what can happen in the race.

You’re now the most successful Russian driver in Formula One history but the future of Red Bull’s teams is hanging in the balance. Have you been given any assurances for 2016?
DK: Well, you know, I think there have been some rumours in the media and stuff like that. Obviously not the nicest things to hear about your own team, but you know, my job is to try to drive the car that I have as fast as I can and that’s what I want to focus on first of all and the other things that are hanging in the air, as you said, I think they are up to other people in our team and I trust them 100 per cent, on what they are doing and I rely on them for these kind of questions, 100 per cent.

Thank you very much. Fernando, coming to you: celebrating your 250th grand prix entry this weekend, congratulations for that. You started 12th in the last two races, the team’s best of the season. What are you going to be working on this weekend and at the remaining events this season?
Fernando ALONSO: Well, I think it’s going to be more or less the same at the remaining races: trying to get some more information about the car and more philosophies on the car to set up for next year as well. So, some interesting things that we would like to test in these races and keep helping also Honda in terms developing the power unit: the driveability, reliability as well, that we had some up and downs during the season. But as you said the last two races were probably the most competitive ones for us, Singapore and Japan, so hopefully keep going in the same direction, just better. It’s not too difficult as we start quite low, but it seems we are making some good progress, so we need to keep going like that.

Obviously the big talking point were the radio messages during the race in Japan. Did you think they were going to remain private and what kind of reaction have you had from Honda?
FA: Yeah, of course. Obviously we have been all season very positive, about the team and about the car, we faced some difficult times, some tough times, all the team and what you talk on the radio should remain private because you are talking with your team not publically. I think publically, as I said, we have been very, very positive all the time. You know sometimes it’s normal and understandable, talking to the team, you know the level of frustration and the level of commitment that I have for racing and Jenson has for racing as well, when you are battling and you cannot hold anyone behind and you are losing positions is normal. But as I said, this is a very unique sport, that we have a microphone in our helmet and it goes live on television. Imagine in NBA or football players or something like that what we can find. This is normal and it’s just talking to the team, it’s understandable the frustration with the car.

Thanks very much. Coming to you Nico: Constructors’ Championship within Mercedes’ grasp here. Second year in a row you can clinch the Constructors’ this weekend here in Sochi. What are your thoughts on that?
Nico ROSBERG: Yeah, it is one of the aims of this weekend, to try to clinch that. Special to be able to do it again in such a manner, such a dominating manner. Really awesome job by the team. And again to have the chance to close it down so early. But, of course Ferrari has been strong recently, very, very strong even, so we need to be cautious, we still need to work hard, get the best out of it but of course we’re optimistic.

Now, last year this race on a new track didn’t turn out as people expected in terms of how the way the track performed with the tyres etc – you did almost the whole race on one set of tyres. With the tyres that have brought along this year what kind of race weekend can we expect? Can you give us your analysis of what lies ahead?
NR: Yeah, it is quite particular, because the asphalt is very special here. It is quite different. Therefore there are some new challenges you need to handle. Also the tyres being softer is going to different again to last year, because last year there was hardly any degradation, I did the whole race without any pit stop, or with one on the first lap, and it’s going to be quite different. Again we need to adapt to the new situation, so it could be an interesting one.

Q: Romain, coming to you, obviously since Suzuka you’ve been announced as a Haas driver for 2016. What does the next three years look like for you?
Romain GROSJEAN: Hopefully pretty successful! It was a great opportunity I had to join Haas. As I’ve said, leaving Enstone is going to be, from an emotional point of view, quite hard because I’ve spent ten years there. I think Fernando knows how it is in this team: very, very strong group of people. On the other hand, from a sporting point of view, I think the way Haas is coming to Formula One is very, very clever. He’s been successful in his business, he’s been successful in NASCAR. Coming alongside Ferrari – which is probably the biggest team in Formula One – makes sense, and for me to have a new experience with an American team can be very, very nice.

Q: You’ve qualified in the top ten at the last five races. Obviously we know of the problems going on in the background with your team at the same time all the other teams are still developing etcetera, etcetera. How have you and the team managed to do that, given the relative circumstances?
RG: I think, as I say, Enstone is quite a particular team in a way, the people stayed united and very strong together. I think the funniest part was not having any hospitality in Japan. It didn’t matter at the end because what we want to do at the end is to do our performance, we want to race, we want to race hard and go for it and that’s what we do. Just focussing on what you can do, what you can change and forgetting the outside part of it is the key. We have done it pretty well, with some fun and hopefully, with five races remaining, we can do some good stuff.

Q: Felipe, last year here in Sochi, a very good race for Williams if not for you personally – but I guess this ought to be another strong one, and clearly the target for you personally this weekend would be another podium, right?
Felipe MASSA: Yeah. I think it’s a good track for us so I really believe our car can be competitive on this track, which it was last year. I had a problem on the engine in the qualifying, so I had to start last but we’re looking forward for the race – so I really hope we can be competitive, strong and finish with both cars in very, very good positions here.

Q: And where are you at with the thinking as a team? Are you still developing this car right through to the final race in Abu Dhabi, or are you focussing now very firmly on 2016, trying to bridge that gap to Ferrari and Mercedes?
FM: We had some new parts of the car in the last races. Even this race we have some little bits but I think we are already thinking about next year since a little bit of time. We understand it’s very important to finish at least where we are in the Constructors’ Championship but we really understand that next year is really, really important and, as soon as you start, the better it is, so definitely we’re really concentrating on next year.

Q: Carlos, Suzuka another race where the result didn’t match up to the qualifying and the performance that preceded it. What are you working on to try and reverse this pattern?
Carlos SAINZ: Yeah, it’s been a difficult weekend in Suzuka with a lot of positives to take – but the P10 I think didn’t show the good weekend that we had done until then. Obviously we had this problem in qualifying and then I did the mistake in the race after doing some good free practices in the wet. So, we just need a clean weekend without any mistake from my side, without any reliability problems on the team side and I’m sure we can put a very good result together because we saw that the performance is really there.

Q: And the same question I guess to you as I put to Daniil at the beginning. Dietrich Mateschitz has said a decision will be made on his teams by the end of this month. What assurances – and, indeed, alternatives – do you have?
CS: To be honest, I don’t know and I’m not really taking care of that matter too much. As Dany said, I think we’re here to drive and our job is to extract the maximum performance of our car. I just know that the team obviously is working hard, and now more than ever, to find something for next year. Obviously it starts to be a bit late and we need to design all the rear part of the car. When you don’t have something at the rear at this stage of the year, it’s a bit tricky – but I have full trust that they will come to a solution. To an agreement. I think Red Bull more than anyone deserves… they have done a lot for this sport, a lot for Formula One and they will end up having a decent engine, a decent package for next year.


Q: (Daniel Johnson – The Telegraph) Fernando, you put out a few tweets after the last race which weren’t 100 per cent clear. So, just for the sake of clarity, to make it much easier, yes or no, will you be racing for McLaren in 2016?
FA: You didn’t read the tweets.

I read them but they weren’t totally clear…
FA: Of course I’m not English, my mother language is Spanish. In Spanish they were a little bit clear.

How about now, from my question, yes or no?
FA: The same. Yes. Of course.

100 per cent you’ll be with McLaren, 2016 on the grid?
FA: And ’17.

And 17
FA: Yes.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi, La Gazzetta dello Sport): Question for Nico, after the grand prix in Suzuka, Lauda said “we came back but we have to be cautious that the next race could be different again because it’s different asphalt.” Is it a worry – because last year Mercedes dominated the grand prix with five cars in the top six positions? It’s really a problem with the soft and supersoft and the characteristics of the layout – or not?
NR: No, it’s very unique this race, with the asphalt, with supersoft, soft compared to last year, soft, medium. So, it will be a particular challenge and we did show weaknesses on the soft, supersoft in Singapore. Big weaknesses. We have learned from that but, again, here is not Singapore so we need to do a really good job and it’s not going to be as simple as maybe Suzuka was in terms of preparation.

Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Nico, while the results have not been as good as you have been expecting, how much does that take away from the maximum enjoyment you could get from racing?
NR: It’s always an enjoyment but of course winning races increases that enjoyment further. It would be great to get back to winning ways very soon.

Q: (Ian Parkes – Autosport) Fernando, you’ve been asked about the radio messages. Obviously you are aware that some radio messages do get played out and I’m sure that behind the scenes the team is also aware of your frustrations regarding the lack of power, with Honda’s reliability etc. So what are your intentions when you go onto the radio and you’re saying ‘this is a GP2 engine’? What’s the end game there for you when you’re saying that?
FA: I told you before, it’s the frustration of battling hard and being a competitive sportsman. When you are in a car, in a race and you try to give it all and you are fighting lap after lap and you keep losing positions easily on the straight, even before the braking point, you get some frustration out there on the radio. I’m happy it was only broadcast in Suzuka because if you hear all the races, all the radio messages from me or from Jenson or whatever, you will be even more surprised.

Q: (David Croft – Sky Sports) Sorry to go back to those radio messages again, Fernando, but whether they were heard by the fans and broadcasters alike or whether they were just heard internally, Honda were always going to hear that message. Do you think that maybe, given the struggles you’ve had with McLaren and Honda this year, your messages were a little bit ill-timed, ill-conceived and not exactly helpful for the future of the partnership?
FA: Well, I think the most important part of the Suzuka weekend was on Wednesday when I visited the Sakura factory and I saw the engine programme for next year, when we had very long meetings and we went through all the difficulties that we are facing right now and all the possible solutions that we want for next year, so that was the most important part of the weekend and the messages that I think were important in the weekend, and those were very very clear and were much more clear than Sunday. On Sunday, it was just the frustration of – as I said – racing and just the competition against the others. Nothing new, because we know where we are lacking and we then define what are the problems. The important thing is to go forward and to be positive for next year and as I said, the meetings in the week before Suzuka were the ones that for the Honda guys is if it’s the question or if you concern what the Honda people thought in Suzuka on Sunday, I think on Wednesday it was much more important than Sunday.

Q: (James Ellingworth – Associated Press) Nico, we’re now at the point in the championship where – as I understand it – even if you were to win the remaining five races, that wouldn’t necessarily guarantee the championship, you’d have to rely – in that case – on some mistakes from Lewis. How does that affect your approach to the remaining races? Is there any part of you that is maybe looking forward to a possible mistake from Lewis?
NR: I don’t really think about it in that much detail. I see the gap, I see that it’s quite big considering there’s just a couple of races left and just go for it, go for it. I need to try to win the races, that’s what I’m focussing on, winning the races and then the rest... I’ll just see how it goes.

Q: (Ian Parkes – Autosport) Daniil and Carlos: I appreciate that you’ve already been asked about the future of Red Bull and Toro Rosso, but sitting here right now, knowing the situation and how very close Red Bull are to going out of the sport as they lack an engine for next year, first of all do you have any concerns whatsoever that you will not be in Formula One in 2016 and secondly, knowing that, appreciating that, have you been exploring other options outside of F1?
DK: Well, like I said before, it’s not great to hear these rumours and stuff like that of course but on the other side, if you look at it, what can I change? I can drive the car, I can try to put ourselves as high as possible at the finish of a race and then you have to be patient. Formula One is a rough world, you have to be patient, you have to consider it’s a honeymoon at some point. The beginning of the year was very tough for us and then we started to climb, slowly but surely and we’ve been quite competitive in the last races, I think, so I think everyone has to be patient in the team and I think the right decisions will be taken in the future from our bosses. I’m sure... like I said I rely on them fully.
CS: Yeah, not much to add to be honest. We just need to wait, be patient as Dany is saying and trust that Red Bull is going to take the right decision and they’re going to do the best, obviously, for the brand, for the team, for both teams and there is nothing that we can do. We are just sitting here, waiting but having 100 percent confidence in them and as I said before, Red Bull has done a lot for F1 and I’m sure F1 will end up giving them back a bit of what they have done for them. With all this, I’m pretty sure, hopefully that next year we can be here.
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Old 9th October 2015, 10:27   #4
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This was the place where Nico put in that HUMONGOUS drive last year, wasn't it?
And the McLs were 4/5? Both in the points? Ah, memories......

Anyway, here's to kicker from Lewis again!!
Hammer time!
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Old 9th October 2015, 11:48   #5
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The Master! Easily the most intelligent F1 driver.. Press cant pin him down for even this!
Sainz and Grosjean having a nice laugh.. around the 2m mark

Alonso's Radio Outburst Not Isolated

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Old 9th October 2015, 17:02   #6
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FP1 was disrupted for about 30 minutes due to diesel spillage.

The jokes are already flowing:
  • "Its true that VW/Audi are joining F1"
  • "According to EPA tests there was no diesel spill"

Source: f1fanatic.co.uk
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Old 9th October 2015, 20:35   #7
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The rain affected sessions always make for good photo ops.

2015 Formula 1 Russian GP - Sochi-rain1.jpg

And McLaren topped the number of laps in the free practice sessions too.

2015 Formula 1 Russian GP - Sochi-rain2.jpg

After the marshalls cleaned up the diesel oil spill, the FP1 got underway finally.
2015 Formula 1 Russian GP - Sochi-diesel-spill.jpg
2015 Formula 1 Russian GP - Sochi-diesel-spill-2.jpg

As usual, the testing was in progress in full swing.
2015 Formula 1 Russian GP - Sochi-test1.jpg
With all sorts of pressure sensors and rakes in use.
2015 Formula 1 Russian GP - Sochi-test2.jpg

FP1 timings:

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An interesting FP2 as well.

FP2 Timings:

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Who would have thought that Alonso would be on top of the speed trap chart in a 2015 session. If someone had bet on that for this weekend, he would have been handsomely paid today.

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Images Source : Formula1 website

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Old 9th October 2015, 22:12   #8
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Nice to see everyone together to celebrate Fernando's 250th.
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Old 10th October 2015, 09:01   #9
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Originally Posted by Hatari View Post
Nice to see everyone together to celebrate Fernando's 250th.
But some of his "best" friends were missing.

On a serious note,

By the time the GP3 qualifying session was run after all the cleaning up of Diesel oil on track throughout the various sessions, it was nearly night in Sochi.

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2015 Formula 1 Russian GP - Sochi-sochigp32.jpg
It may not have been Race controls fault that the truck dumped the fuel, but once it happened FIA should have taken firm decisions based on safety concerns to protect the safety of the drivers instead of the commercial rights holder's priority to make the sessions happen.

2015 Formula 1 Russian GP - Sochi-sochigp31.jpg

The combination of rain and low visibility from darkness were major contributing factors to Jules Bianchi’s accident in Suzuka last year.

Pictures source : Live feed & Twitter

Friday Press conference:

2015 Formula 1 Russian GP - Sochi-friday-pc.jpg

TEAM REPRESENTATIVES – Paul HEMBERY (Pirelli), Graeme LOWDON (Manor), Monisha KALTENBORN (Sauber), Paul MONAGHAN (Red Bull Racing), Rob SMEDLEY (Williams)

Some of the interesting bits.

Q: It’s now early October and you don’t know yet what engine you’ll be using in the back of your car next year. At what point does being forced to miss the pre-season tests become a real risk? Presuming, of course, that Red Bull continues in Formula One next year.
Paul MONAGHAN (Red Bull Racing): : It’s getting a little bit late. At the moment it will be a squeeze but we’ll do it. I guess if you’re… OK, we can go to the first test and it can be a washout for three or four days, so it’s wrong to say that anybody that runs the first test will automatically have a benefit on us. Yeah, they might, but we could cope – so however the land lies, we’ll deal with it.

Q: (Kate Walker – motorsport.com) Monisha, regarding the EU investigation of the lodging of the complaint, there are more than two disenfranchised teams, both in terms of rule making and CCB payments. What efforts did you guys make to get everybody in on the complaint and would having more signatories have strengthened your case do you think?
Monisha KALTENBORN (Sauber): Well, these talks amongst the non-privileged teams – if you can put it like that – have been going on for quite a while so they were always informed about it but it’s their decision not to sign it or not to support it, at least at the moment – I don’t think there’s anybody out there who would not support it but they probably have to take a public position on that as well. We’ve always been transparent, from our side. We’ve always told them where we stand and it’s entirely up to them and they’ll decide, I guess, when they want to join it or not and they will have their reasons for that.

Q: (Daniel Ortelli – Agence France Presse) Question about these privileges; Sauber has been in Formula One for 20 years but it gets no money from the premium fund, do you think it’s normal and is it part of your complaint?
MK: Well, we’ve been (involved for) 23 years actually. I can’t tell you details about the complaint because now it’s an ongoing procedure and we have to adhere to all the steps there. What we have basically requested or asked the commission to do is to investigate why these – in our view – unfair terms regarding the voting rights, the rule-making on one side and on the other side the distribution of revenues have been imposed. We have asked the commission to – as we see – abuse of dominance arising from the way these privileges have been granted in these two areas. So we have our position on that, we don’t consider it to be fair and based on that, we have submitted our complaint which is to be also clear about it against the commercial rights holder.

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Old 10th October 2015, 16:01   #10
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FP3 :

About halfway through the session Carlos Sainz lost control heading into Turn 13 hitting the wall. The session was red flagged and Carlos Sainz was extracted from the car and taken to the medical center. He gave the thumbs up as he was taken into the ambulance.

There were a few spins & off track excursions before this incident happened. Carlos Sainz's team mate Max Verstappen found himself off the track and pointing the wrong way a few minutes before the redflag.

Replays show Sainz's front wheel was in front of him after 1st impact with wall. Low nose, with broken front suspension lowering the car front further probably helped raise the TecPro barriers upward, over the car. The nose height might save one type of accident but bring about another.

For most of the teams it looks like 3rd or 4th lap is optimum for bringing the tyres into the operating window when on super soft tyre. Not looking good from the race oint of view. Nico Rosberg went out on supersofts and immediately went quickest. So maybe there is more to learn for some. Initial laps could be interesting if teams are going into the race without completing their programmes for the day.
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Old 10th October 2015, 17:13   #11
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Force India poking some fun at Williams 😂
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Old 10th October 2015, 20:50   #12
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That was unexpected from Mercedes. Good sense from the team, but very uncharacteristic of Lewis's usual self to not go out once again. Maybe there is news behind the "let it be",but I haven't checked any feeds so don't know.
Anyway, going to a good start tomorrow.
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Old 11th October 2015, 06:12   #13
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Default Re: 2015 Formula 1 Russian GP - Sochi

Originally Posted by jfxavier View Post
FP3 :
About halfway through the session Carlos Sainz lost control heading into Turn 13 hitting the wall. The session was red flagged and Carlos Sainz was extracted from the car and taken to the medical center. He gave the thumbs up as he was taken into the ambulance.
Onboard from Carlos.
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Old 11th October 2015, 07:27   #14
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Hoping that the stewards doesn't find something broken with Carlos in the morning that the Doctors have missed.
The young man is out of hospital and ready to race..

Here's the provisional grid for sunday.

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Old 11th October 2015, 16:29   #15
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Some humor minutes before the race start
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