The 5.8-kilometre Sochi Autodrom, designed by Hermann Tilke, is laid out around the site used for the Winter Olympics earlier this year.
Jenson Button compared the track to two venues which are no longer on the F1 calendar.
“From what I’ve seen of the place, it’s sort of a mix between the tracks we raced on in Valencia and Korea,” he said. “Plenty of long, fast straights hemmed in by concrete walls and high barriers, and a selection of medium-speed corners that seem to have been designed to test the abilities of a car.”
However McLaren team mate Kevin Magnussen likened it to the circuit which will host the final round of this year’s world championship.
“The layout sort of looks a little bit like Abu Dhabi,” he said. “It has the curving straights into very precise, tight corners, which will really require a lot from the car because it’ll be trying to snap away mid-turn. Like Yas Marina, it looks pretty flat, too.”
Magnussen expressed concern about the difficulty of overtaking at the Sochi circuit. “There are no particularly big stops or opportunities where you can really place your car up the inside,” he said.
“Turn 11, which is the right-hander at the end of the back straight, might be a good possibility. Turn 13 could be an option, too.”
However Romain Grosjean said he had a more positive impression of the circuit after driving it on the Lotus simulator.
“It didn’t look very sexy from the outside but it actually seems to be really good fun,” he said. “There’s a great mix of corners and some good high speed areas too.”
Sochi Autodrom pictures
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Images © Tilke/Sochi Autodrom