Several F1 drivers have revealed which track they would like to see replace Sochi on the 2022 calendar. It was announced last month that the Russian Grand Prix would not go ahead this year following the country's launch of a major military assault on neighbouring Ukraine. Soon afterwards, Formula 1 confirmed that their contract with the race has been terminated, meaning that the sport will not return to Russia in the future. The event had originally been planned for September on the 2022 schedule, and there has not yet been any news on which venue will fill the vacant spot.
Could a new circuit replace Sochi on the F1 calendar?
As such, some of the drivers have been giving their opinion on venues that they think would be a good addition to the calendar. Valtteri Bottas is rooting for Formula 1 to visit his home country of Finland, particularly given that MotoGP is due to hold its inaugural race at the KymiRing this year. "In Finland, there's a new track that is made for MotoGP," Bottas explained when asked by RacingNews365.com which track he would like to see replace Sochi. "I think they've signed [a] five-year deal with MotoGP, and they're building facilities to be good enough for [an] F1 race, so I'm rooting for a Finnish Grand Prix." Esteban Ocon, meanwhile, thinks that a city venue in America would be a nice alternative. "Probably a city circuit somewhere, in the States," the Alpine driver said. "I would like to race more [there] because I've never discovered the States, so yeah, somewhere in a cool town. New York, if they can do something, let's do it."
Others call for the return of an old favourite
For F1's German drivers, Mick Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, the Nurburgring is at the top of their list. The legendary track has been the scene of several Formula 1 races in times gone by, but has been absent in more recent years. It did, however, host a Grand Prix in the 2020 season, which was a shorter and slightly delayed campaign due to the coronavirus pandemic. "Obviously, I think Formula 1 kind of belongs to Germany as well," Schumacher - whose father Michael was a multiple winner at the circuit - explained. "So I think it'd be nice to have a German race again in the calendar. Nurburgring, preferably." Vettel also gave his backing to the track, adding: "It's not going to be forever that I'm around, so maybe that's the last chance to go to Nurburging, Nordschleife."
A track popular in junior categories
Charles Leclerc, on the other hand, admits that he would like to see Macau feature on the F1 calendar, though believes that the chances of this happening are low. The street venue has hosted Grands Prix in junior categories, and Leclerc claimed second in the 2015 Formula 3 race. "For me [there are] two places, one that I think is quite unrealistic," the Ferrari driver said. "But Macau, I would love to be racing with Formula 1 cars there. They are quite big now, so it might be quite tricky." Leclerc's other choice would be for the sport to visit Africa, with the Monegasque explaining: "I've never been to Africa, and I would love to discover there, so maybe one track in Africa."