The Black Sea resort, on the edge of Europe, is host not just to the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2014 Russian Grand Prix but also the 2018 World Cup. Organising a roadtrip to this part of the world is not the work of a moment so we’re starting now.
One trip couldn’t take in both 2014 events. The Winter Olympics starts on 7 February 2014 while the F1 calendar isn’t announced until December 2013. The track, which winds in and around the Olympics facilities, won‘t be ready until June at the earliest because the surface cannot be laid until the Olympics is finished.
The event will almost certainly miss the exact 100 year anniversary of the previous Russian Grand Prix, held on 31 May 1914 in St Petersburg.
At 3.9 miles, half on public roads, it will be the third longest F1 circuit but one of the fastest, with a Monza-style 200mph (320kph) top speed along the start finish straight. Immediately after is a 270° constant curve taken at over 185mph (300kph).
The race could be delayed for a year if the International Olympics Committee thinks preparations are interfering in Winter Games plans. If it goes ahead – likely late summer/ early autumn – the lack of an established Formula One culture in Russia means attendance is likely to be low, and ticket and accommodation prices (relatively) cheap. For more on Sochi read this.
The shortest road route is 2500 miles from London via Poland and the Ukraine. Only 900 miles is on motorway. We’d be tempted to drive through Austria, Hungary and Romania then via Odessa. It’s an extra 180 miles, but 1150 is on motorway. For more on driving in Russia see this.
The way back, circumnavigating the Black Sea, looks like an ideal opportunity to check out the futuristic architecture and roads of Georgia, and maybe even the cheap five star hotels of Baku, Azerbaijan (on the Caspian Sea), all with Istanbul and Athens – and the Adriatic Coast – to look forward to on the way home. Wanna come?!
Fast facts Sochi: at 90 miles long, greater Sochi claims to be Europe’s longest city. It is also the birthplace of Nobel prize winning physicist Sir Andre Geim, inventor of Graphene, the hi-tech ‘miracle material’ one atom thick into which the British government has just announced a big investment.