Formula 1 breaks new ground this week as the sport heads to Sochi for the first ever Russian Grand Prix and both BBC One and Sky Sports F1 will be screening live coverage.
Not only is this Formula 1’s debut in Russia, it is also the first time that any grand prix motor race has been staged in the country in over a century, and the top teams and drivers will look to mark the occasion with victory at the Sochi Autodrom, a circuit built on the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The new 3.1-mile track, which navigates its way around the iconic Sochi Olympic Park landmarks that millions of sports fans became familiar with earlier, offers plenty of overtaking opportunities including a lengthy home straight and a series of wide and narrow hairpins.
It is now the third longest track on the entire Formula 1 calendar, only behind legendary circuits Spa-Francorchamps and Silverstone, with part of the race taking place on public roads.
Designed by F1’s resident circuit architect Hermann Tilke, the Sochi street circuit looks set to produce some close and exciting racing for the thousands of fans who are expected to flock into the Olympic Park to watch a small but significant piece of motorsport history.
Unofficially known as the ‘Summer Capital’ of Russia, or the Black Sea Pearl, Sochi is the biggest and busiest summer sea resort in Russia, attracting more than four million visitors annually with its picturesque mountainous coastline and endless shingle beaches.
This new territory could prove a fascinating chapter in the race for the drivers’ world championship as the battle between Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg looks set to intensify still further.
Hamilton is targeting a fourth successive race win, following victories in Italy, Singapore and Japan, and will be looking to extend his 10-point lead over his chief title rival Rosberg.
However, the thoughts and minds of everyone in the Formula 1 paddock will be with Marussia driver Jules Bianchi, who suffered severe head injuries as a result of an horrific accident towards the end of last Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.
The 25-year-old from France, who is part of the Ferrari young driver academy, had surgery on Sunday after his car hit a recovery vehicle that was removing another car during the race, and currently being treated in a Japanese hospital, where his condition is described as “critical but stable”.
Everyone within the Formula 1 paddock has been sending their best wishes him and his family, with the hope that the highly-popular young Frenchman will go on to make a full recovery.
The Russian Grand Prix represents one of the last remaining frontiers for Formula 1 to visit and interest in the sport has grown in the country, following home driver Daniil Kvyat making his debut this season with Toro Rosso and impressing sufficiently to earn promotion to the Red Bull team as Sebastian Vettel’s replacement for 2015, with the four-time world champion set to move to Ferrari next season.
Despite the tense political situation in the country and in eastern Europe earlier this year, the Sochi race goes ahead and looks set to provide F1 fans with another exciting chapter in this season’s fight for the world title.
Hamilton and Rosberg’s strong form at the front of the field means Mercedes are likely to pick up the constructors’ title in Sochi, with a single top-two finish for one of their cars enough to put the crown out of reach of their rival teams.
With four races still remaining and 125 points left on the table, due to the adoption of double points for the season finale in Abu Dhabi, there is still plenty to play for.
You can follow all the action from the 16th round of the 2014 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season on both BBC Sport and Sky Sports F1.
SOTB’s viewing guide to the 2014 Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix below:
BBC Sport will broadcast the entire 2014 Russian Grand Prix weekend live on free-to-air television across BBC One and BBC Two as the sport makes its debut on the Sochi Autodrom.
Live coverage begins on Friday morning with the first free practice session on BBC Two at 6.45am, followed by the second session which will this weekend be shown on BBC Red Button at 10.55am (due to Daily Politics on BBC Two), with delayed coverage following on BBC Two at 1.20pm. Practice three is as usual live on BBC Two on early Saturday morning.
Then at the weekend, BBC One and BBC One HD brings fans live coverage of the must-see qualifying session and the race itself, with both sessions getting underway at 12.00pm.
Suzi Perry presents BBC TV’s coverage from Sochi across weekend where she will be joined by David Coulthard, Eddie Jordan and Allan McNish, all of whom will be on hand to provide lively analysis and discussion in the pits and paddock.
During the lengthy qualifying and race build-ups there will be plenty of new features and interviews to keep viewers informed and entertained, including David Coulthard’s grid-walk on race day.
Commentary comes from Ben Edwards and Coulthard, with Lee McKenzie and Tom Clarkson providing pit-lane updates and conduct interviews with the drivers and team personnel.
BBC Sport’s popular F1 Forum, presented by Suzi Perry, follows the conclusion of the BBC One race transmission on the BBC Red Button and online at 2.15pm, while race highlights follow later in the evening on BBC Three at 7.00pm.
The BBC Sport website will have live streaming of all live BBC TV broadcasts, as well as additional live video content during including extra feeds such as driver tracker, on-board cameras, pits channel and a choice of commentary, plus interviews and analysis.
All of the BBC’s TV coverage will be available to view shortly after transmission on BBC iPlayer.
BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra will also have live audio commentary of every on-track session from Sochi with Jack Nicholls, Jennie Gow and Allan McNish.
Friday 10th October Free Practice 1 – Start: 07:00 LIVE: 6.55am-8.35am BBC Two Free Practice 2 – Start: 11:00 LIVE: 10.55am-12.35pm BBC Red Button Delayed: 1.20pm-3.00pm BBC Two Saturday 11th October Free Practice 3 – Start: 09:00 LIVE: 8.55am-10.15am BBC Two Qualifying – Start: 12:00 LIVE: 11.15am-1.30pm BBC One Sunday 12th October RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX – Race Start: 12:00 LIVE: 11.00am-2.15pm BBC One Post-Race Forum: 2.15pm-3.15pm BBC Red Button Highlights: 7.00pm-8.15pm BBC Three
Formula 1 makes its first ever stop in Russia this week and Sky Sports F1 will be in Sochi to bring viewers its usual extensive live coverage.
The race will be shown live and uninterrupted on Sunday morning, along with the practice and qualifying sessions on Friday and Saturday, all on Sky Sports F1, with numerous full session replays throughout the day giving fans the best chance to catch-up on all the early-morning action.
Simon Lazenby will anchor Sky Sports F1’s comprehensive live coverage throughout the weekend where he will be joined by regulars Martin Brundle, Johnny Herbert and Damon Hill.
Ted Kravitz will provide the latest news and reports and from the pit lane, with further reports and driver interviews from Rachel Brookes.
Commentary on all sessions comes from David Croft, with Martin Brundle joining him for both qualifying and the race, with Bruno Senna calling the practice sessions this weekend, as well as providing his unique insights via the Sky Pad during the weekend.
The F1 Show live from the Sochi pits will have all the build-up to the race weekend on Friday afternoon at 3.00pm, hosted by Rachel Brookes and David Croft.
During the race, a host of interactive additions, including on-board cameras, pit-lane feeds, the latest race stats and much more available via the red button and the Sky Sports for iPad app.
For those who won’t be at home, every second of the action can be seen via computers, laptops, mobiles and tablet devices on Sky Go.
Sky Sports will also have live coverage of the GP2 action from Sochi throughout the weekend, where Britain’s own Jolyon Palmer could be crowned champion. Commentary will as always be led by Will Buxton.
Friday 10th October Free Practice 1 – Start: 07:00 LIVE: 6.45am-9.00am Sky Sports F1 Free Practice 2 – Start: 11:00 LIVE: 10.45am-12.55pm Sky Sports F1 The F1 Show LIVE: 3.00pm-4.00pm Sky Sports F1 Saturday 11th October Free Practice 3 – Start: 09:00 LIVE: 8.45am-10.15am Sky Sports F1 Qualifying – Start: 12:00 LIVE: 10.15am-10.35am & 11.20am-1.35pm Sky Sports F1 Sunday 12th October RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX – Race Start: 12:00 Track Parade: 10.30am-11.00am Sky Sports F1 RACE LIVE: 11.00am-2.30pm Sky Sports F1 Paddock Live: 2.30pm-3.15pm Sky Sports F1 Highlights: 5.15pm-6.15pm Sky Sports F1 . . .