Following an intense triple-header to kick off the second half of the season, the team heads to the shores of the Black Sea and Sochi Autodrom for round 15 of the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship. The 5.848km street circuit winds its way around the Olympic Park, site of the 2014 Winter Olympics, passing venues such as the Bolshoy Ice Dome and the Adler Arena Skating Centre. The circuit is the fifth longest on the calendar and combines a number of tight, twisty sections with long straights and a fast, sweeping turn four, perhaps the most notable corner on the track.
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: The team have enjoyed a weekend at home for the first time since the summer shutdown and we are now heading to Russia looking forward to continuing the season and looking to consolidate our recent run of good form.
The Sochi Autodrom is a tricky circuit, with the final sector in particular being very demanding, especially if the tyres have had a hard time earlier in the lap. The track surface has been evolving continuously since we first came here but is now stabilising and provides a good base for the Pirelli tyres. Like last year we have the softest compounds of the Pirelli range here and these should form a good combination for qualifying and the race. The weather is forecast to be cooler than 12 months ago, and this will require a slightly different approach to the tyres, but this should be manageable.
With the majority of Sector Two consisting of medium-speed corners and the low-speed nature of Sector Three, achieving a good overall set-up is difficult. Our experience on Friday will be important for judging how the tyres will perform over a full race stint and therefore what the best compromises are for trading qualifying and race pace.
The Olympic Park provides a dramatic backdrop to this circuit and leads to a track layout that is demanding for both the car and the drivers. There are likely be a range of solutions for tackling this circuit and we look forward to the challenge of competing at this unique venue.
George Russell: I feel rested and recovered after the recent triple-header and ready to go back racing once again in Russia. It’s a demanding track with some tricky sections along with some fast corners which make it a challenge for both the driver and the car. The Olympic Park in Sochi is also a unique location to go racing and rushing past some of the venues for the Winter Olympics makes for a spectacular backdrop. Following some strong results in recent races, including three points finishes in the last four races, we will be pushing hard as a team to carry that momentum into this weekend.
Nicholas Latifi: Russia is an interesting and unique track which gives a street circuit vibe. It has a lot of similar corners so it’s very important to get the car set-up dialled in to suit the series of 90-degree turns, and they can sometimes make it difficult to get in a rhythm. The last sector is also very technical, so you can win or lose a lot of time there. We’ve had some strong races recently, so I’ll be looking to maintain the positive momentum and make the most of any opportunities that present themselves in Sochi.