Formula 1 has announced that the Russian Grand Prix will move from Sochi Autodrom to Igora Drive in 2023.
It has been confirmed that the Russian Grand Prix will have a new home from 2023. Igora Drive, located around 50km north of St Petersburg, will take over hosting duties from Sochi Autodrom.
A statement from Formula 1 reads:
“We are looking forward to racing in a hugely exciting location that includes 10 professional tracks for racing and testing over approximately 100 hectares. It is located 54 km from Saint Petersburg, was designed by German architect Hermann Tilke and in 2020 received its FIA Grade 1 license. We will be providing more details on the race in the coming months and we are looking forward to racing in Sochi for the next two years.”
From Sochi to St Petersburg
The Russian Grand Prix first appeared on the Formula 1 calendar in 2014. All seven races at Sochi Autodrom so far have been won by Mercedes. The circuit, which runs through the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics, has been criticised for producing monotonous races, with few overtaking opportunities.
In 2020, Sochi Autodrom was one of the first circuits on the F1 calendar to welcome back fans following the coronavirus pandemic. Upward of 20,000 fans were in attendance over the 2020 Russian Grand Prix weekend.
A long-awaited move
Construction at Igora Drive began in 2017 and the circuit was opened in 2019. The venue has ten different track layouts and a spectator capacity upward of 50,000. It has long been expected that the Russian Grand Prix would move away from Sochi in the coming years and move to a “destination city”. Igora Drive had been mooted as a replacement venue for Sochi Autodrom as far back as 2019.
Aside from national racing series, Igora Drive has played host to few international events. German touring car series was supposed to race at the circuit for the first time in 2020 – along with support from W Series – but the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. A deal was also signed with FIA World Rallycross Championship for Igora Drive to host the World RX of Russia, but the race was cancelled due to contractual disputes.
In the meantime, Sochi Autodrom will host its two final Russian Grands Prix in 2021 and 2022. The 2021 Russian Grand Prix is set to take place on September 26, forming a triple header with the recently-added Turkish Grand Prix and the Japanese Grand Prix.