Last week the FIA and Liberty Media announced that from 2023 the Russian GP will switch from Sochi to Igora Drive, a place situated 50 km from Saint Peterburg, near to the Finnish border.
The designed circus was created by the expert hand of Hermann Tilke and was born in 2019; it was due to be hosting motorsport events such as DTM and W-Series, before everything was thwarted by the pandemics. To welcome F1, though, the promotors of the event want to expand its current length of 4 km to 5, with the extra kilometer to be used to make a more interesting track and to create what Alexey Titov, the CEO of the Russian GP promoter Rogonski, calls an “exciting view”, adding banked corners too.
The planned expansion is said to be featuring longer straights and a fast final loop that will also feature a dramatic elevation change.
“There is a plan that the track is going to be lengthened, - Titov stated talking with Motorsport.com. - In the current configuration it is closer to the end of the list in length if we compare it with other tracks in the Formula 1 calendar. Therefore, it needs to be made longer. A little more elevation difference will be added, some turns will become banked, so from a sporting point of view it will be an exciting sight."
In the map that was posted by the promoter, the new Igora Drive will have the current final sequence of slow corners directly connected with the front and the back straights should end up being bypassed. F1 single-seaters on their first GP there will swoop into a rollercoaster final loop and dive into many left-handed apexes only to face sharp right-handed hairpin and will end up going down a 12% hill.
The said extension will make Igora Drive long to 5.18 km against the current 4.08 km and that is made with the clear intent of make F1 cars overtaking more feasible.
The track won’t be the only one to be changed, though. The works will also strengthen the venue infrastructure by adding several extra garages, leaving unchanged most of the existing facilities.
“There will definitely not be a global restructuring, - Titov explained - In terms of size, the facility is not much different from European tracks if we talk about the main infrastructure, such as the main grandstand, the pit building and so on.”
"Therefore, - he added – there will definitely not be any restructuring, but we will expand or lengthen a number of zones. There are really not enough garages, we will increase their number. But this is solved by temporary structures and neat aesthetic extensions to the building."
Then, the Russian expressed the approval he had both by FIA’s President Jean Todt and Liberty Media’s CEO Stefano Domenicali.
“We received a very large number of positive reviews from [Domenicali], - Titov added. – Of course, there are comments on the necessary points we need to pay attention to, so that the circuit is more applicable to Formula 1. But these are all comments of a technical nature.”