An historic weekend for F1
It’s exactly a century since the last Russian Grand Prix won by Willy Scholl from Germany. World War I caused the 1915 race to be postponed and there’s never been a Grand Prix since until this weekend.
Plans for this race have been in the melting point for over thirty years and a Grand Prix of the Soviet Union was included in the provisional calendar for 1983. Bureaucracy reared its ugly head and the race never took place. But old Bernie never gives up and as we moved into the 21st century, President Putin supported moves for a Grand Prix to take place. Four years ago, Ecclestone officially signed a contract for a Russian Grand Prix in 2014 even though the circuit in Sochi hadn’t even been built.
Every Olympics leaves a legacy of some kind, in the UK it gives West Ham a new ground and in Russia it’s this F1 circuit. The 5.853km layout was designed by Hermann Tilke and it runs clockwise around the Winter Olympic Park venues, mostly on public roads with 12 right and six left-hand corners. Renault’s Remi Taffin has likened the circuit to Singapore and the street track in Valencia, “a high-speed, street track with tight corners.”
So there’s four races to go, three under regular points and the final it’s a Knockout double points finale. Lewis Hamilton has won the last three races making it eight for the season and no driver has ever won that many without winning the title.
A win for Hamilton equals Nigel Mansell’s British record of 31 Grand Prix victories while another Mercedes 1-2 would put them just one behind the record of 10 in a season set by McLaren in 1988.
With Hamilton now 10 points clear of Rosberg, another big win in Russia really would be a giant step towards a second World title. He certainly has the momentum and it’s almost as if the controversial incident with Rosberg in the Belgian Grand Prix was a turning point in the season.
While the Driver’s championship could yet go down to the last race, which of course Bernie goes to bed every night praying for, the Constructor’s title could be clinched this weekend. Not of course that there’s a great deal of excitement about that seeing Mercedes lead Red Bull by 190 points going into this weekend.
It’s good I guess to see the F1 calendar add a new country to its ever-growing list. So let’s settle down for another weekend that has plenty of off-track gossip, intriguing racing and fingers crossed, a safe passage for all the drivers.