Russian Grand Prix: How Long is the F1 Straight at Sochi & Why is Tow Important?

Published 09/24/2021, 8:33 AM EDT
Motor racing – Formula One – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – September 24, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in action during practice REUTERS/Anton Vaganov


After the conclusion of the second triple-header of the season, the Formula 1 paddock move towards the Sochi Autodrom for the Russian Grand Prix.

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The first-ever Russian GP took place in 2014 and since then Mercedes has won every single race. The Sochi Autodrom is 5.848 kilometers long and comprises one of the longest straights on the racing calendar this year.

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How long is the start straight at the Sochi Autodrom?

The start straight is almost 900 meters. From the start line, drivers go full throttle until the end of turn two. Halfway through the main straight comes a sweeping 30 degree right bend, taken flat out but referred to as Turn 1.

Motor racing – Formula One – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – September 24, 2021. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during practice REUTERS/Anton Vaganov.

At the end of the main straight, the driver enters turn 2, which is a 90-degree right-hander. In addition, this turn is also considered as the best overtaking spot on the circuit.

Why tow is important at the Russian Grand Prix?

Sochi Autodrom is the fourth-longest track on the racing calendar this year after Spa-Francorchamps, Baku, and Silverstone. This circuit comprises 18 turns and 2 DRS detection points. Despite that, overtaking at the Russian Grand Prix isn’t as straightforward as it may seem.

On a track like this, with a lack of overtaking opportunities, getting a tow from a teammate or rival becomes extremely crucial to either secure a pole position in qualification or to overtake in the main race.

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Securing a pole position is never enough at Sochi, as those behind can benefit from a tow. In addition, securing a third position at the Russian GP is much better than securing a pole. A driver starting from P3 can take a massive tow from the pole sitter and go past him. Furthermore, the pole-sitter starts the race from the outside line.

Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during the race. Pool via REUTERS/Kirill Kudryavtsev

Sochi Autodrom has proved to be quite underwhelming for the F1 fans because of the lack of overtaking opportunities. As a result, after the end of Sochi Autodrom contract in 2022, Russian Grand Prix will move to Igora Drive near Saint Petersburg from 2023 onwards.

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DIVE DEEPER

Russian Grand Prix Weather Forecast: Bone-Dry on Friday, But a Rain-Drenched Saturday Predicted

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Can Lewis Hamilton secure his 100th Grand Prix victory this weekend or Valtteri Bottas once again show an impressive performance to win the Russian GP? What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Pingaksh Sharma

300 articles

Pingaksh Sharma is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been following this sport since India hosted the Grand Prix in 2012 and has been an ardent supporter of the eventual race winner, Sebastian Vettel. He is also a fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull and hopes the former breaks the Lewis Hamilton dominance.

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