You probably know a lot more about Sochi - once Russia's best-kept subtropical secret - than you did this time last year. Planning a visit? Marking the start of a six-year race commitment, this vibrant sporting city will be hosting the 2014 FORMULA 1 RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX. Today on the Radisson Blu blog, we'll explore all the fun that entails.
Sometimes called the Russian Riviera, Sochi is known for its bustling beaches and year-round warm weather. It's a beloved summer destination where the nation's rich and powerful build their holiday homes; some would even say it's the country's answer to Monaco. Between the city's bustling nightlife and thriving restaurant scene, there's bound to be a buzz this October when the 2014 FORMULA 1 RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX returns to the sporting world for the first time since World War One. Here's our guide to the latest event on the Formula One™ calendar.
A prime location
Recent years have seen a boom in construction of state-of-the-art sporting facilities in Sochi. A new ice skating rink, speed skating track and football stadium are among the ambitious projects that can be glimpsed from different points along the racing circuit. These modern architectural designs include curving glass walls and smooth metal domes, not unlike what you'd see at the iconic Yas Marina track in Abu Dhabi.
A need for speed
While visiting the circuit with BBC correspondent and veteran F1™ legend David Coulthard last spring, Red Bull's controversial champion racer Sebastian Vettel noted that the Sochi track will be great for speed (though it's unclear what this will mean for cars more reliant on downforce - the course includes a few interesting corners). Vettel was the first to test the track, and offered his approval of what he believes will be a "fun" course to drive. At 5.9 kilometres, it's one of the longest tests this year - only Belgium and Britain promise longer circuits.
Timing is everything
The 2014 FORMULA 1 RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX is the 16th of 19 races on this year’s calendar, between Suzuka in early October and Austin at the end of the month. So close to the end of the season, the Sochi event could be make-or-break for the title race. For die-hard Formula One™ fans, the inaugural Russian event is definitely not to be missed. Tickets go on sale on 4 March, and they're likely to sell quickly.
It's all about the after party
Sochi is known as a resort town, and locals know a thing or two about nightlife. Since Formula One™ after parties are known for drawing star-studded crowds, we're anticipating some great events during the weekend of 10-12 October. The savvy party planners at our Radisson Blu Paradise Resort & Spa Sochi suggest keeping an eye on Bar London, a 24-hour hotspot known for attracting A-listers.