Sochi. The location of the last Olympic Winter Games in 2014, is now playing host to the Formula One circus. It hasn’t been the least talked about location this year, what with all the “situations” surrounding Russia, but after last weekend in Japan, it has become the race after the accident. Last weekend in Suzuka, Jules Bianchi of Marussia was involved in a heavy crash with a piece of track equipment, sent to remove a stricken Adrian Sutil’s Sauber, just one lap earlier. FOM has been withholding images of the incident, as it was very violent and they are trying to honor the Bianchi family (in this author’s opinion). I’ve read and heard a number of different positions on this situation, and only one resonates with me; #forzaJules as it is known on Twitter. The drivers will all be wearing stickers on their helmets in Sochi, stating #tousavecJules or “All With Jules.”

Hoping for a dry race in Sochi, let’s see what Pirelli have to say in their preview of the Sochi Circuit.

Pirelli Sochi Circuit Preview

Circuit Sochi Featured

Sochi is a medium to high speed track, with 12 right hand corners, and six left hand corners. The average track speed should be around 215 kph and the front straight should produce a top speed of around 320 kph. There is a long left hander here reminiscent of the triple apex right hander at the former F1 track in Istanbul.

The track was designed by Hermann Tilke, the likes of whom designed the other most recent track on the F1 calendar in the United States; Circuit of the Americas. As this track is newly finished, there isn’t a lot of hard data on what the cars are able to do here, and is mainly based on computer simulation alone. Pirelli has chosen the yellow banded soft tyre and the white banded medium tyre for Sochi as this will give more grip on the “unknown” track.

Russia is a key territory for Pirelli, along with all the major automotive companies in the world, so we are very much looking forward to Sochi and the first Russian Grand Prix, which is a significant milestone in the sport’s history. From a tyre perspective it should be an interesting challenge; we’ve got a wide variety of corners that should test every aspect of performance. As has been the case at every grand prix this year, we’re aiming for between two and three pit stops per race and the nomination we have made reflects this. In terms of overall tyre energy demands, Russia is somewhere in the middle, and measurements also indicate low-abrasion asphalt. Regarding the weather, initial forecasts suggest that conditions will be temperate. Going to a new circuit is always exciting and it’s only when we get there that we will have a complete idea of what to expect, so the work done in free practice will be particularly important for everyone.Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

Pirelli Tires Sochi

With the simulation technology that exists now, it’s much easier for drivers, teams and of course tyre companies to prepare for a new grand prix than it was in my day. But there is still a big difference between virtual and reality: simulation can never replicate everything. So it will be important for the drivers and engineers to inspect the track carefully; to understand the nature of the surface you have to touch it and feel it. On the first day in particular the track will be very dirty and difficult to drive, which makes it quite hard to get the right idea about set-up and the characteristics of the tyres. With no previous information, it’s easy to misunderstand things or go in the wrong direction on set-up, which only adds to the challenge of a completely new venue.Jean Alesi, Pirelli consultant

Will you be watching the Formula One circus descend on Sochi this year for the first time in a 100 year drought? I am curious what the new track will bring in terms of strategy and speed, as no one has truly put rubber on this track yet. As hard as it was to get here, I hope the FIA decides to stay. Oh and, #forzaJules.

Track Profile: Sochi – Russian Grand Prix

About the author

Jeff Trocchio

Apple IIe green screen is whence I came. Where I go, only technology knows. If its Automotive, Mobile, Gaming or Computer tech I'll try my best to give my thoughts on it.