F1 in Sochi: Our fan guide to the Russian Grand Prix

Motorsport.com presents a visitors’ guide for anyone who plans to visit the Russian GP at Sochi Autodrome circuit this weekend.

The Russian Grand Prix is something that seemed almost incredible just a decade ago, yet is now becoming routine with the circus returning to Sochi after the inaugural event last year.

Back in 2014, there has been plenty of speculation about whether the Russian side would be ready on time for the race in former Olympic Park. In fact, the brand new state-of-the-art circuit and outstanding efforts of local promoter team have made the venue arguably one of the best organized in the calendar, with mostly positive feedback coming from visitors.  

Today, Sochi’s weekend on the calendar stands alongside iconic old-school European tracks like Monza and Silverstone and newly-built exotic locations, like Yas Marina and Bahrain, and this means a lot to local motorsport fans, who anticipated this moment for decades.

However, with its welcoming mild sub-tropical climate, incredible proximity of the still-warm Black Sea and snowy mountain ridge, which hosted the last Winter Olympics and one of the most affordable F1 ticket prices, Sochi might be a great venue for motorsport fans from all over the world.

You can find all necessary information about getting Russian visa on the website of Sochi Autodrome here.

Accommodation

There is no better way to reach Sochi then by plane, and when you arrive there are several principal options of where to stay: a hotel near the circuit (Adler area), in the city of Sochi or even in the so-called mountain cluster.

Those, whose main interest would be purely F1 should better choose a place in Adler (which is a district of Sochi), but if your plans for the visit go beyond racing, it might be a good idea to stay in Sochi.

Aside from popular hotel and room booking services, we recommend checking “bundle” offers (ticket+hotel) from Russian GP promoter.

Tickets

Although tickets sales started several months ago, still there is plenty of seating options available.

If for some reason you have planned buying tickets to particular grandstand and did not find those available on Sochi Autodrome website, do not worry. Experience tells that not all of the tickets had been put on sales at once, during the official ticket sales start, and we can expect extra tickets to be made available up to the final day of the racing weekend.

So it’s a good idea to check the official website of the Russian Grand Prix for updates.

Circuit access

Here the choice of your hotel will matter. If it is located near the Olympic Park, then you can make it to the track on foot in 20-30 minutes or take a shuttle bus.

Thursday, Friday and even Saturday should be quiet, while on Sunday we strongly recommend to get to the circuit earlier, thus avoiding the peak of the pedestrian traffic and enjoying the day packed with maximum action: from junior formulas to the official Grand Prix opening ceremony and the main race of the day.

In case your hotel is located further away in the Adler area, in the city of Sochi, or even mountainous Krasnaya Polyana, the best way to get to the Sochi Autodrome is to take a ride in a local rapid transit train, which is called Lastochka (Swallow).

Buses can be considered as an alternative option, but despite dedicated lanes, minor delays due to traffic jams might be expected.

You’re best to avoid going by car or taxi, as during the weekend all roads near the circuit would be closed for public access, and only parking pass holders have access to the immediate area. This is not to mention severe traffic jams, which happen after the F1 race.

You can find full information about circuit access and transportation here.

Restaurants and nightlife

You will hardly encounter any problems finding a snack at Sochi Autodrome with wide variety of local and European dishes and drinks offered in numerous points of sales.

Dining should not become an issue in the city, as far as many new cafes and restaurants were opened after the Winter Olympics brought new wave of international tourist traffic to the area.

Specials for Motorsport.com readers

We are glad to present memorable gifts to F1 fans in Sochi. During the race weekend, our promo-staff will distribute special bundles for the fans, including flags, baseball caps and pins, which are provided in exchange for your registration on Motorsport.com.

Schedule

Note that the official weekend starts on Thursday with the Olympic Park and F1 Village being opened early at 10am. Fans could find various entertainments on site, including the pit walk being available for owners of 4-day tickets and the autograph session with F1 drivers.

Plan your visit to make sure you have enough free time to have a walk in the F1 Village and buy yourself some memorabilia. Starting from Friday and until the last day of the weekend, aside from the race action you can also enjoy concerts of popular local artists and Natalie Imbruglia with a gig on Saturday.

You can find the full schedule of weekend, including both entertainment and racing activities here.

Keep in mind that access to the circuit territory is granted only after a security inspection. Remember that there is a list of prohibited items, including liquids, so make sure you don’t take it with you. You can check the full list here.

Check out our Inside GP preview...

 

What else to look out for

Aside from concerts and parties in Olympic Park during the weekend, you can find many points of interest in the city of Sochi and its areas. And those are mostly all about the natural beauty of the place, which offers unique combo of the warm Black Sea, crisp air of mountains and outstanding variety of local flora.

In the proximity of the circuit area, you can take a walk on the embankment of Olympic Park and enjoy the fresh sea breeze. Also, there’s a nice amusement venue: Sochi-Park with dophinarium and theme park.

Going a bit further, there’s plenty of really stunning places nearby the city, which we strongly recommend in case you find some free time during your stay in Sochi:

The Observation Tower on Akhun Mountain

Skypark AJ Hackett Sochi

Sochi National Park

Arboretum Botanical Garden (Dendrarium)

Culture Ethnographic Center My Russia

Krasnaya Polyana Mountain Cluster 

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Russian GP
Track Sochi Autodrom
Article type Special feature