Along with Canada and Spain, the Russian Grand Prix is one of three F1 circuits staged in a former Olympic complex. Though relatively unknown outside the country prior to the 2014 Olympics, several Grand Prix later and a football World Cup to boot and Sochi is well and truly on the map as an international sporting destination.
The event, though well-attended by domestic fans has not yet become a prime destination for the majority of international Grand Prix goers and the reasons are understandable if not entirely justified.
Sochi Autodrome has the look and feel of a theme park that should have closed its doors forty years ago and lacks the sense of history and myth that accompany circuits in Formula One’s European heartland. The location too, far from an iconic world-class city like Singapore or Abu Dhabi keeps it low on the radar for your typical globe-trotting F1 fan.
Sochi and the surrounding area certainly has something to offer that no other F1 destination can though. The region’s stunning snow-capped mountains, endless miles of coastline and almost guaranteed sunshine make it easy to see why Sochi has earned its place as Russia’s ‘Summer Capital’. There’s a reason the population of Sochi nearly doubles during the tourist season. When you’re not at the track you can literally hit the ski slopes in the morning and spend the afternoon topping up your tan on the beach.
Russia’s needlessly bureaucratic visa application process doesn’t help attract fans from abroad either but once you’ve figured that out Sochi is close enough to Europe to be one or two inexpensive flights away for European fans.
Russian Grand Prix F1 Spectator Tips
- Sochi is the F1 destination of choice for outdoorsy types. Bring your skis for the snow and your beach body for the sand.
- Get to know the real Russia on your visit and travel by sleeper train between Sochi and Moscow. Saint Petersburg too is only 4 hours further north.
- Modern and fast, Sochi’s Lastochka trains are free to use for F1 ticket holders.
- Booking accommodation in the more distant Lazarevskoye district will keep costs down leaving you with more to spend on the grandstand seats you really want.
With 300 days of sunshine per year Sochi well and truly deserves it status as Russia’s Summer Capital. You’re more likely to need a beach towel and a snorkel than an umbrella or a raincoat for this F1 trip.
I’m Danny, an incurable Formula 1 fan for over 30 years and founder of The F1 Spectator. My aim is to inform and inspire, arming you with helpful tips and advice for your next F1 trip.