F1: How can the Russians be behind?
In the year of 1914, when German Willy Scholl won the second Russian Grand Prix, who would have guessed that this was the last time the Russians would experience the thrill and excitement of a Formula 1 race? Following the outbreak of the First World War (1914) and the Russian Civil War (1917), the Russian Grand Prix vanished from the pages of history.
Held briefly in the 1910s, the Russian Grand Prix was a treat to the motor racing fans. Held in the picturesque location of St. Petersburg, this circuit was in running condition for about two years – 1913 and 1914. Post World War, the Russian Grand Prix was off the map due to various diplomatic and economic failures in the country.
The race in 1913 was won by Russian driver G. Suvorin under the Benz (now Mercedes-Benz) constructor. And in the subsequent year of 1914, another driver from the Benz powerhouse, German Willy Scholl, won the Grand Prix. These two grand prix was Russia’s only experience of the Formula 1 adrenaline.
In 1983, though provisions were made for the great return of this Formula 1 track, all efforts of Formula 1 Supremo, Bernie Ecclestone, failed due to bureaucratic barriers opposing his move. Planning to take Formula 1 beyond the Iron Curtain for the first time, Bernie’s dream soon hit hard ground and subsequently Russias’s grand prix named, “Grand Prix of the Soviet Union”, failed to win a berth in the 1983 calender. But Bernie’s spirit was not one to fail so easily and we see the result after 30 years of tireless campaigning by him.
Nearly a century since hosting Formula 1 races, Russians now get back their glory days of Formula 1 back. 2014 was annouced to be the official inaugural year of the Russian Grand Prix, in its very own “Sochi Olympic Park Circuit”, built in the “Coastal Cluster”, a collection of venues for the 2014 Winter Olympics that will host ice hockey, speed skating and the stadium for the opening and closing ceremonies. The surface will not be laid until after the Closing Ceremony of the Olympics.
Being held amidst the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, the racing fraternity again feared that the Russian Grand Prix would be delayed further due to this international event. But sustained efforts of Bernie Ecclestone and the head of Krasnodarsky Krai Development Technologies Sharing Centre , Mikhail Kapirulin, ensured that the fight for Russian Grand Prix was not to end so easily. And eventually, a seven year contract, in the attendance of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, was signed for the race to be run in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, Russia.
Come 2014, we shall see the Russian Flag flutter high in the Sochi Circuit after a century of its birth. This 5.8 Km long circuit is believed to be the third longest circuit in the world after the Spa Circuit (7.0 Km) of the Belgium Grand Prix and the Silver stone Circuit (5.9 Km) of the British Grand Prix. With Hermann Tilke’s expert architecture, this circuit has all that it takes to produce a fast and exciting race. With 12 corners to test the capability of the racer and the constructor’s design, there are also quite long straight paths to give high linear speeds zone. Thus, this great track has it all to offer it viewers a race to bring back Russia in the maps of Formula 1 with panache.
So all the racing fans around the World are eagerly waiting for 2014 to see what Russia has to offer to the world of Formula 1 and if it can raise the standards of Formula 1 higher. Going by the preparations of the track, this race is indeed going to be epic. So saying it as the Russians say it, “??????? ??????? ?????” (Let’s have a great race).