Sochi was not exactly a Red Bull circuit in 2014. Ricciardo and Vettel finished 7th and 8th respectively and were over a minute off the leading pace.
Back in Monza this year, Christian Horner thought Renault may bring an engine upgrade to Sochi, however, this has proven not to be the case.
Renault are still believed to be validating the upgrades on the dyno and the latest word is they could be ready for the USA GP in Austin.
Being a medium speed circuit with plenty of corners, it’s not unreasonable to expect Red Bull to be relatively competitive in Russia this year. However, both drivers when interviewed by F1.com appeared less than enthusiastic with the upcoming event.
“I would describe it as a classic modern-style track,” says local boy Kvyat. To the rest of the world that means a ‘Tilkerdrome’.
“But what’s really important is that there is quite a lot of room for overtaking, which usually makes for good racing. It does have some quite interesting, quite unusual sections.
Danny accepts there are sections which are ‘quite challenging’, however adds, “It probably doesn’t really have a standout, balls-out corner.”
Yet this is of course Kvyat’s home race and for that reason he is looking forward to the weekend.
“The atmosphere last year was fantastic, there were so many fans giving me support. It really feels awesome to be there”.
For once, Daniel Ricciardo has little to say when asked about his Sochi expectations. “The organisers have done a really good job with the facilities – everything is top notch! They’ve put in really good grandstands around the stadium section for fans, and that generates a good atmosphere”.
Bla bla bla….
“But in the car it’s 90-degree corner – straight – 90-degree corner – straight, so in terms of driver satisfaction it’s a little flat. [Sochi itself is] surprising! “
However, one aspect of Sochi gets a resounding thumbs up from Danny R. “I Really liked the beach. But I would say that, wouldn’t I?”
Given that Williams went well in Sochi last year, it is likely Red Bull know their best chance is to be the fourth best team in Russia this weekend.