Formula 1

Grand Prixview for the 2021 Russian GP!

Driver announcements, grid penalties and future plans - Sochi will be the spot of a lot of discussions!

Privet, Sochi! F1 will be back in the world’s largest country, and there have been a few events in the F1 world that will be hot topics for discussion in the build up to the race weekend- I’ll run down the basics of the track, and some of the discussion topics as well.

The Track

Built around the Winter Olympics park in Sochi which played host to the 2014 Winter Olympics, the Sochi Autodrom is an expensive project- though as is often the case with modern F1, expensive doesn’t often mean well-received!

F1 fans often detest the circuit, and some have even called it the worst on the calendar. For me though, I just look forward to Lap 1 over here, as Lap 1 is always dramatic, with something or the other happening down at Turn 2. Crashes, corner cuts and lockups are commonplace here, and last year was a witness to that, with both Sainz and Stroll out on Lap 1 due to crashes- the first lap last year being quite dramatic!

2023 onwards, the race will move to a different circuit altogether, at Igora Drive near St Petersburg. This will hence, be the penultimate time that the race is run, so let’s all just not spread negativity about the circuit this time round! Also, Sochi presents a bit of a chellenge setup-wise as well- do teams focus on the quick Sector 1 or the technical and slow Sector 3 in terms of aero? Let’s wait and find out!

Talking Points for the weekend

  • Tough weekend for Red Bull

Max has been handed a grid penalty for Sochi, after he was deemed to have been responsible for the Monza shunt with Lewis. On top of that, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has predicted Sochi to be a tough race for the team, so all in all Red Bull’s prospects for the weekend don’t look great!

  • Mercedes’ dominance in Russia:

Mercedes are so dominant, and their dominance in Russia has been going on for over 100 years, since 1913! What, you don’t believe me? Here’s proof!

Terrible jokes aside, every single race in Russia has gone in favour of the German manufacturer, and since 2014 they’ve been unbeatable here. It’ll come as no surprise, hence that they’re the favourites to take top spot yet again over here!

  • Final pieces of the driver market puzzle

There are only three officially unconfirmed seats for 2022, namely both Haas seats and the one vacant Alfa Romeo seat. It’s highly likely that both Haas drivers will continue on, so apart from that, the only vacant seat is the one at Alfa. Who could it be? Guanyu Zhou looks to be in contention, and he might well be the top candidate for the team right now. Antonio isn’t performing consistently enough, and it’s too soon to promote Theo Pourchaire in my opinion. Zhou will bring cash, and while he isn’t the fastest, he’s alright enough.

I expect an announcement at Sochi, for atleast one of the 3 officially vacant seats. Alfa’s decision will be a dicey one- if they choose Zhou, they’ll likely only offer him a 1-year seat, as despite him bringing in significant funding from China, Alfa’s long-term prospects lie with Pourchaire. Fred Vasseur has often praised Pourchaire, and for good reason. His performances in F2 are well beyond his 17 years of age, and we might well see a new Leclerc-esque driver on our screens with Theo!

  • Possible return to Red Bull for Gasly?

Not a current discussion point, as his near future has already been decided but Red Bull boss Christian Horner has  not ruled out a possible Gasly return in the future. 2023 might see the Frenchman, who was expelled from Red Bull for poor performances do extremely well both before and after his Red Bull stint.

Let’s keep Pierre on our horizons, as it’s but obvious- how long will he want to just lead a midfield team? He also has dreams and hopes, and will want to naturally move up the ladder, so let’s just remember this for the future!

In Conclusion

F1’s back after a week’s break, and we should all be very excited! We saw a great 3-way battle last year between good friends Albon, Russell and Norris. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed for more such action in this year’s event as well!

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Sahil D.

Love sleeping, video games and aviation, but F1 is life! I'm addicted to F1 and it's happenings, and I really love open-wheel motorsport! Feel free to check out any of my articles- I try my best to write without an element of bias, so you as the reader can form your own opinion! :)

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