Rumor: Russia GP set for Igora Drive (3rd Update)

This rumor is upgraded to ‘fact’ today.

The Russian Grand Prix is moving home in 2023, after a deal was struck to move the race to a new purpose-built circuit just outside St Petersburg.

Autodrom Igora Drive was designed by Hermann Tilke and will replace Sochi – which has hosted F1 every year since it joined the calendar in 2014 on the site where it hosted the Winter Olympics the same year.

The venue was given Grade 1 status by the FIA at the end of 2020, clearing it to become the second ever Russian host of a Formula 1 Grand Prix.

“I am pleased to confirm following joint intensive work with our Russian partners and detailed assessment of Igora Drive – Formula 1 will be racing at that amazing circuit from 2023,” said F1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali.

“I am impressed by St Petersburg and believe that the Russian Grand Prix at Igora Drive will be an incredible event.

“We will be providing more details on the race in the coming months and we are looking forward to racing in Sochi for the next two years.”

May 6, 2021 

(GMM) The promoter of the annual Russian GP has refused to confirm or deny speculation that the race will be relocated from Sochi to a new circuit in St Petersburg in 2022.

According to the reports, the race will take place at the new Igora Drive venue in 2022 before returning to Sochi the following year.

“The internet is a dangerous place,” race promoter Rosgonki’s chief Alexey Titov told Russian broadcaster Match TV.

“I am not ready to comment on the rumors. All I can say is that we were very lucky last year as we managed to hold the event very efficiently and safely, taking into account the coronavirus.

“There were flaws but we will take them into account and this year try to make the event even safer,” he added.

Titov said he is hopeful that despite the ongoing covid crisis throughout the world, the Russian GP should return to normal in 2022.

“We hope that most of the restrictions will be lifted by the end of the year,” he said.

“This means that in 2022 we will be able to hold the grand prix with as close as possible to the familiar format with autograph sessions and maximum integration with Formula 1 itself and the opportunity to communicate with the fans.”

May 5, 2021 

The relocation of the Russian GP became semi-official late on Tuesday – before the information was quickly denied.

We reported last weekend that concrete plans are afoot to have the race moved to a new circuit in Leningrad Oblast, Igora Drive, after this year’s Sochi event.

On social media, someone posted a question on the official account of the Russian federal territory Sirius – in whose jurisdiction sits the Sochi circuit.

“Formula 1 will be held in Sirius (Sochi) on September 23-26,” came the official reply. “Next year, the event will take place in St Petersburg and then return to Sirius yet again a year later.”

However, the official press service of the Sirius federal territory then denied the information.

“The information that the social media specialist gave in the comments was wrong,” a spokesperson told Russia’s Championat.

“These comments have already been removed so as not to mislead any more people.”

May 1, 2021 

(GMM) This year’s Russian GP could be the last one held at Sochi.

According to Russian business daily Delovoy Petersburg, the plans to relocate the Formula 1 race to a new circuit in Leningrad Oblast – Igora Drive – have been submitted to parliament.

The bill calls for tax exemptions for services related to the relocated race until 2025 – the existing term of the Russian GP contract with Formula 1.

In an explanatory note attached to the bill, it explains that the measures “take into account the possible transfer of the venue for the Russian round of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship”.

A source close to the moves reportedly told the newspaper: “There are plans to transfer the races to Igora in 2022.”

Earlier this week, Russian F1 commentator Alexey Popov admitted he had also heard about the potential move from Sochi to Igora Drive.

“Igora can host the grand prix – I understand the track has been homologated,” he told the Russian portal DTF.

“The track is interesting, I was there when only a couple of buildings were built,” added Popov. “I wouldn’t like to see Sochi go, so it would be great if Russia could have two races.

“We are a large country with great commercial potential. If we can expand the presence of Formula 1 in the United States, why not expand it in Russia?”

Igora Drive circuit elevation changes