RUSSIAN GP PREVIEW F1 RETURNS AFTER A 100-YEAR GAP
There hasn’t been a Russian Grand Prix since 1914 when the race ended its short-lived twoyear appearance on the calendar. Now taking place at the Sochi Autodrom, the rst grand prix in Russia for over a hundred years will be a milestone event. And given that it will be held on a track with which none of the teams or drivers are familiar, it will definitely make for a challenging and unpredictable weekend.
A lot of preparation is done before any team arrives at a new venue. Typically, the drivers will get to know the track on simulators back at base to try to understand the lines they may want to take. This method isn’t perfect, however, because even at well-known circuits there are little nuances that can’t easily be captured by simulators. It has also been difficult to obtain permission for LiDAR scanning in Russia, so the track topography has been established from surveyors’ drawings.
In addition to driver-in-the-loop simulation, engineers will also conduct computer simulations to arrive at some kind of base setup to start the weekend. They will also make use of scanned track-surface data to estimate the likely tyre degradation and wear so they can formulate base strategies before the weekend starts. Running plans for the weekend will also be determined with the new track in mind, trying to get drivers and engineers as familiar with the circuit as possible.
The track layout will pose a challenge for this year’s power units: there are a couple of high-speed sections, but engineers have no prior knowledge of how to optimise energy recovery and deployment. At this stage, it’s unclear whether the race will be fuel-limited, but if it is this will pose an even bigger challenge as teams and drivers will need to practice and perfect their fuel-saving techniques.
This is sure to be an exciting and historic event as teams do their best to get up to speed quicker and more efficiently than their competitors.