Charlie Whiting has confirmed that the new Sochi Autodrom is ready to host its first F1 event, following a final circuit inspection.
An FIA delegation visited the Russian venue, built on the site of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, on Tuesday [19 August] to check its readiness for round 16 of the world championship, and came away impressed with the work that has been carried out since its previous tenant moved on.
The inspection evaluated both the quality of the track and the venue itself to ensure it is fit for purpose, eventually delivering a positive verdict and declaring that the Autodrom was ready to host motorsport's premier class. Whiting – already a fan of the layout from previous visits - confirmed that the circuit has everything in place to ensure a safe and spectacular grand prix in early October, vindicating the hard working of staff and organisers who were determined to avoid comparisons with predecessors such as Korea, which struggled to meet the timetable for approval and, in some cases, were still applying finishing touches to their facility as the F1 circus arrived.
“The circuit is in extremely good condition and it will be issued with a license,” FIA safety delegate Whiting announced, “Everything has been done according to the plans. The kerbs are very good, the verges, the guardrails, the walls – everything is in an extremely good condition. Everything has been done to the highest standards and I'm extremely pleased. I can say without hesitation that the circuit is ready 60 days in advance, which is very rare really.
“[The facility] is state of the art, it's very good, and I was very impressed when I walked in to the race control building. It really does look extremely impressive. Fundamentally, all race control buildings are the same but, in this particular case, it's been done with very latest high-tech equipment. The images we see at race control are absolutely superb.
“What I've seen today gives me complete comfort that the circuit will be entirely ready when I come back for the grand prix.”