Switzerland’s Louis Delétraz will get his first taste of Russia’s Sochi Autodrom circuit when the penultimate round of the 2018 FIA Formula Two Championship takes place this weekend.
The 5.84km track was first unveiled in 2014 and is classified as a street circuit. It is located within Sochi’s Olympic Park – the home of the 2014 Winter Olympics – and drivers are sure to be kept busy as every lap contains 18 separate turns.
Sochi Autodrom is the home of the Russian Grand Prix and is a new addition to this season’s F2 calendar. That means it will present Charouz Racing System driver Louis with an entirely new challenge.
“I’ve never been to Russia so my simulator sessions have been very important to get to know the Sochi track,” he explained. “All of my preparations have gone well and I’m excited to get on a new track that’s quite interesting.
“It’s pretty different from the tracks we have in Europe. It’s not permanent so some parts of the circuit are really close to the wall. You definitely know you are driving at a modern city track.
“I’d say it’s most similar to Abu Dhabi. It doesn’t feature ‘old school’ kind of corners but it has second or third gear corners that are still very technical. I’m looking forward to accepting the challenge it will bring.”
Sochi formed part of the GP2 and GP3 race calendars in the years before Louis successfully graduated to Formula One’s official feeder category.
One of the first challenges he’ll face this weekend will be finding a strong set-up for his ADSS-supported car and getting up to speed quickly thereafter.
He said: “Most of the teams have some experience at the track because GP2 raced there in 2014 and 2015. And some of the drivers on today’s F2 grid will have raced there in GP3 during the same years. They will know the track and have some data.
“We won’t have the benefit of that experience but the target this weekend will be the same as it is at every race: to try and perform and push for race wins.”
To have the best chance of hitting that target, Louis has spent a number of days at Charouz Racing System’s Czech headquarters analysing data and working with his engineers to ensure he’s completely ready when he turns on to the Sochi track for the first time on Friday.
“We’ve analysed everything from the team’s part and the driver’s part to see what we can do better after the last races,” he said.
“The objective is to finish the season strongly and I’ll be chasing that first F2 win again this weekend. That’s the objective and to claim some F2 points so we can finish 2018 on a high.”
Friday’s F2 free practice session will get underway at 13.00 in Sochi, while qualifying will start at 16.55. Saturday’s Feature Race will start at 16.45 and Sunday’s Sprint Race will go live at 11.20 (all times are local: GMT+3).