Sebastian Vettel became the first Formula One driver to experience the Sochi Olympic Park Circuit in Sochi, Krasnodar Krai, Russia. Triple world champion Vettel, who was recently named as Infiniti's Director of Performance, drove an Infiniti FX Vettel Edition through part of the circuit tracks, which is still under construction.
He was joined by former Formula One driver David Coulthard. After experiencing the tracks, Vettel toured the Sochi Olympic Park Circuit, accompanied by officials from the Russian Government and Formula Sochi, the organizing body. He then proceeded to the Olympic Ice Skating arena to hold a press conference. After its completion, the 3.7 mile Sochi Olympic Park Circuit will be the third longest circuit on the Formula One calendar, behind Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium and Silverstone in the United Kingdom.
The Sochi Olympic Park Circuit tour is the second time Infiniti and Vettel have been the first to sample a planned new Grand Prix venue. In June 2012, Vettel drove the first ever lap at the planned New Jersey circuit in the United States in an Infiniti IPL G Coupe. Vettel remarked that it was a “great privilege” to be the first Formula One driver to visit the new Sochi venue. He remarked that the Sochi circuit will be “a fun circuit to drive” in a Formula One car, adding that the rest of the venue “is very impressive.”
Oleg Zabara, Deputy General Director of OJSC Center "OMEGA," which is responsible for preparing and organizing the Russian Grand Prix, quipped that the racing circuit in Sochi is part of the post-Olympic heritage program, designed to utilize the infrastructure built for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
He remarked that the construction of the track and the main facilities is on schedule, adding that the world will see the new world-class circuit in 2014. He noted that hosting a Formula One Grand Prix is a key project for the country, as it underscores the status and the image of modern Russia.