Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel made history today by becoming the first F1 driver to experience the Sochi Olympic Park Circuit in Russia.
Vettel, who won the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday, was joined by former F1 driver David Coulthard in driving part of the track, which is still under construction, in an FX Vettel Edition amongst other Infiniti products.
He then toured the sports venue with officials from the Russian Government and Formula Sochi, the organising body, before offering his thoughts of the venue in a press conference held in the Olympic Ice Skating arena.
“It is a great privilege to be the first F1 driver to visit the new Sochi venue,” said Vettel. “After trying a section of the track in the FX Vettel Edition, I can already see it will be a fun circuit to drive in a F1 car and the rest of the venue is very impressive. I'm really looking forward to coming back here for the Grand Prix next year.”
Once complete, the 3.7 mile Sochi Olympic Park Circuit, scene of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, will be the third longest circuit on the F1 calendar behind Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium and Silverstone in Britain.
Russia's inaugural F1 race is scheduled for 2014, after the Winter Olympics. The circuit's integration into Olympic Park infrastructure is the key feature of the Russian venue.
Oleg Zabara, deputy general director of OJSC "Center "OMEGA", responsible for preparations and organisation of the Russian Grand Prix added: “The racing circuit in Sochi is part of the post-Olympic heritage program, designed to utilise the infrastructure built for the Winter Olympic Games.
“Construction of the track and the main facilities is on schedule, and in 2014 the world will see the new world-class circuit.
“Hosting a F1 Grand Prix is a key project for this country, highlighting the status and the image of modern Russia,” he concluded.