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'A dreary, one-stop snoozefest' - Is Russia's GP Really So Bad?
October 14, 2014 12:31

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The official website of Formula 1 praises the new venue on the calendar and outlines its highlights.
The only racing circuit in the world to be located in an Olympic venue, “Sochi Autodrom is 5.848 kilometres long, runs clockwise and is a medium-speed circuit with a variety of different corners, including one left-hander that has been inspired by the long triple-apex Turn 8 at Istanbul Park, which takes an enormous amount of energy out of the front-right tyre.”
“In total there are 12 right and six left-hand corners, with a 650-metre straight between the first and second turns, on which the cars are expected to hit a top speed of around 320 km/h. The average lap speed around the Hermann Tilke-designed circuit is expected to be in the region of 215 km/h,” the statement adds.
The article gives many technical details, especially on the tyres. “Pirelli have carried out advanced computer simulations in collaboration with the teams to prepare for the demands of the new venue and predict the likely strategies. As a result, they are bringing the white-marked medium and yellow-marked soft compound tyres, a combination last seen in Belgium,” reads the press release.
“A lot has changed since the last time I was here. I am seeing some fantastic results. This will be one of the most sensational Grand Prix races. No one has ever built a racing track like the one in Sochi. I just can’t wait,” Bernie Ecclestone was quoted as saying ahead of the inaugural race.
The New York Times has devoted two major pieces to the story, covering a whole raft of issues related to the Russian GP.
“Because of political issues, many sceptics had believed until recently that the Russian race would never happen,” it starts.
Brad Spurgeon goes back to the Soviet times when Ecclestone held talks on a Russian circuit with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev after the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.
As for the benefits, “the Grand Prix also gives post-Olympics life to the 2014 Games venue and makes use of the infrastructure,” says Spurgeon.
One of the problems for F1 at the moment is a relatively small fan base, with just 10 million, he concludes.
Bloomberg gives much focus on the context and the economic side of the story, as usual.
“The Russian ruble suffered the worst slide since June as U.S. and European sanctions make it harder for companies to refinance and prompt individuals to switch savings into dollars and euros. Fighting in eastern Ukraine is undermining a month-old truce,” reads its article.
It has some details on the ticket sales, too. “Round-trip airfares from Moscow have risen sixfold from normal and nearby hotels are sold out,” the media quotes an expert as saying.
Reuters presents the race as a remarkable event. “Unthinkable in the communist era, when a Ferrari on the streets of Moscow was as rare as a Zil limousine in Las Vegas, the grand prix arrives at a time when many in the west find it unpalatable,” says Alan Baldwin.
The Sydney Morning Herald reminds it readers of the terrible crash in Japan. “Before the start, the 21 drivers had stood silently in a circle on the starting grid in a tribute to Bianchi, who remains critically injured, while the Russian national anthem sounded.
The Telegraph has been vitriolic about the Russian leader, obviously behind the $200 million project.
  • Although Hamilton was without peripheral vision, his helmet still on, the 29-year-old Briton walked straight past the man who has been deemed a persona non grata in the West.
  • Two men dressed as Stalin and Lenin, accepting cash for photographs, set the scene.
  • Putin presented the winners’ trophies before finally leaving the stage. His race was over; a case of money well spent.
But the most vocal was Bleacher Report which unlocked all of its poison, straight from the title that runs ‘Russian GP 2014: Why It's Too Early to Write off Sochi Autodrom as a Bad Circuit‘.
“So to say the Russian Grand Prix was disappointing would be an understatement. Fans in years to come will remember only two events during the race. Of those, only Nico Rosberg's second-corner lockup occurred on the track,” it goes on to say.
“The other was the embarrassing and uncomfortable fawning over the highly divisive Russian president, Vladimir Putin, by this oh-so-apolitical sport,” it adds.
The article is a sulky piece of moaning. “The result was a dreary, one-stop snoozefest in which it didn't really matter when that stop was taken. No one made any great effort to respond to rivals, no one suffered major wear and, once the order had settled down after a few laps, hardly anyone could overtake.

The report focuses on issues with fuel saving that prevents the teams from using the true pace of their cars and circuit design. “But the useless curved straight after Turn 10, the field-spreading Mickey Mouse section toward the end of the lap and the ridiculous pit lane entry look fixableif they don't mind shifting an access road and a building or two,” reads the article. 

Author: Mikhail Vesely


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