The Russian Grand Prix was an on-off rumour for three decades before the inaugural race took place at the Sochi Autodrom in 2014. After two years at the back end of the calendar, Russia moved up to the opening quadrumvirate of flyaway races in 2016, and remains there for the 2017 Formula 1 season.
The venue blurs the boundaries between street circuit and permanent racetrack, having been designed into the blueprint for Sochi’s Olympic Park, using the roads constructed for the Black Sea resort’s hosting of the 2014 Winter Games, in which Lizzy Yarnold won gold on a McLaren-designed and constructed skeleton sled.
At 5.848km (3.634 miles), the circuit is one of the longest on the current F1 calendar. A highly technical power circuit, drivers have voiced the opinion that the layout in Sochi makes following very difficult, and thus overtaking opportunities are at an absolute premium. Another characteristic to emerge from the relatively small sample of grands prix is the forgiving nature of the surface, making Russia potentially a one-stop race.
Sochi is memorable location for Stoffel Vandoorne who won his GP2 title there back in 2015. Stoffel dominated the GP2 season that year, taking seven wins in total and securing the championship with four races to spare.