Track tips and circuit stats

Russian Grand Prix 2017

From gear changes to corner speeds, our track guide is the home of F1 geekery. 

Swot up on the stats and facts ahead of the 2017 Russian Grand Prix.  

 InformationStats
 Track name Sochi Autodrom
 Track length 5.848km/3.364 miles (3rd longest track of the year – longest: Spa-Francorchamps, shortest: Monaco)
 2016 pole position Nico Rosberg 1m35.417s
 2016 fastest lap Nico Rosberg 1m39.094s (lap 52)
 Lap record1:39.094s (Nico Rosberg, 2016)
 Distance to Turn One 450m/0.280 miles (longest of season: Barcelona, 730m/0.454 miles) 
 Longest straight 650m/0.404 miles (longest of the season: China, 1.17km/0.727 miles) 
 Top speed345km/h/214mph, on the approach to Turn One (fastest of season: Monza, 350km/h/217mph)
 Full throttle60 per cent (highest of the season: Monza, 75 per cent)
 Fuel consumption1.9kg per lap, which is high.
 ERS demandsLow
 Gear changes 40 per lap/2120 per race

 

Engineering challenge?

Maximising straight-line speed, without compromising cornering grip. The long straights at the Sochi Autodrom encourage engineers to run reduced levels of downforce on the cars, but it’s important not to compromise braking and traction performance at the same time.

How to tell when a driver's really on it

The way they use the kerb at the exit of Turn Two. When a driver is pushing hard he uses this outside kerb to maximise his exit speed before turning into the horseshoe-shaped Turn Three.

Trickiest bits for the driver

The quartet of corners around the fire station, towards the end of the lap. The initial braking zone for Turn 13 is tricky because the driver is braking hard while turning left. The subsequent corners are all inter-linked and off-camber at the exit, making it difficult to get the power down.

Car set-up

Medium downforce, with an emphasis on rear tyre life. “There isn’t much to wear out the front tyres,” says Fernando Alonso’s race engineer, Mark Temple. “As a consequence, the track is slightly rear-limited and there are a few things we can do with the set-up to help that.”.

Grip levels

Low. The high level of tar in the asphalt makes it very smooth. This will break down with time, meaning grip levels will improve, but the engineers don’t expect a great change from last year, when the surface was very smooth and unabrasive.

Tyre choice

Purple Ultrasoft, red Supersoft and yellow Soft – a combination that was last used at the Australian Grand Prix.

Brake wear

Medium. There are only two significant braking events, into Turns Two and 13. The rest of the lap is relatively undemanding on brakes.

Tips if you're a gamer

Focus on two sections of the track in particular. First, Turn Three, a horseshoe-shaped left-hander. With the extra downforce produced by the 2017 cars, it should be ‘easy-flat’ this year, so think about the possibilities that presents, like going around the outside of rivals and getting the inside line into Turn Four. Second, take a look at Turns 13, 14, 15 and 16 – the most intense sequence of corners on the lap. Braking for Turn 13 is tricky because it’s on a bend and the corner exits are off-camber, making it tricky to get the power down. It’s easy to lose a lot of time in this latter section.