The Sochi International Street Circuit used to host the Russian Formula One Grand Prix has a few things in common with the Valencia Street Circuit that was used to host the European Grand Prix. Both are built among existing infrastructure used for other events, both contain long, narrow stretches run between concrete walls and chain link fencing, and both are, shall we say, not exactly exciting.
In April of last year, Sebastian Vettel and David Coulthard drove the unpaved Sochi Formula One circuit in a pair of Infiniti M sedans, getting both muddy and airborne in the process. Now with tarmac laid down and fences put up, Vettel and Coulthard have gone back to the Black Sea vacation spot for another hot lap, this time in a Q50 Hybrid and without the need for mud flaps.
The next Winter Olympics will happen in Sochi, Russia from February 7-23, 2014. Sometime after that, barring any delays, a portion of the Sochi Olympic Park will be turned into the Sochi Olympic Park Circuit, a 3.65-mile track for the first Russian Grand Prix in 100 years (the last of two Formula One grands prix were held in St. Petersburg).
Russian premier Vladimir Putin (right) has big plans to put his country on the map of world-class sporting events. In 2014, the Black Sea resort town of Sochi will play host to the Winter Olympics. In 2018, Putin hopes to be hosting the World Cup. But not before the country secures its own Formula One grand prix.
As any racing fan Down Under will tell you, the Australian Grand Prix has a long and rich history. The event has been held annually since 1928, and has been a staple of the Formula One calendar since 1985, usually either kicking off or ending the season. History might not be worth as much as cold hard cash to Bernie Ecclestone, though, as the F1 manager is reportedly preparing to scrap the Melbourne event in favor of a new one in Russia.