2021 Russian Grand Prix - Preview


  • For the first time since Austria, the three softest compounds in the range have been nominated for this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix: C3 as the P Zero White hard, C4 as the P Zero Yellow medium, and C5 as the P Zero Red soft. This is the same nomination that was made in Russia last season, when the event was held at a similar time of year.
  • Sochi is a low severity track and the track surface has been steadily maturing since the asphalt was originally laid nearly a decade ago. As a result, the softest rubber in the P Zero range is the perfect choice for the Russian track.
  • The weather should be quite mild at this time of year, so helping to reduce thermal degradation, although this aspect is more related to the track’s layout and roughness.


  • The corners located around Sochi’s Olympic Park are generally slow to medium speed, with a number of 90-degree turns. In general, the circuit is all about traction and braking, so it’s rear-limited. The most demanding corner (and the only front-limited corner) is Turn 3: a multi-apex left-hander that is similar in some ways to Istanbul’s famous Turn 8 in Turkey, which is next grand prix on the calendar.
  • Teams tend to run medium to low downforce, on account of Sochi’s quite long straights, which places the emphasis on mechanical grip from the tyres.
  • The track is not used a lot during the season, so it’s often particularly ‘green’ and slippery towards the start of the weekend. This can sometimes cause the tyres to slide rather than grip, especially during Friday’s free practice sessions but, as was the case last year, graining usually reduces a lot between free practice and the race due to track evolution.
  • Russia has traditionally been a one-stop race, and this was mostly the case last year as well. The top two finishers used a medium to hard strategy, but there was plenty of variation further down the order with some drivers starting on the soft, and three competitors using all three compounds in a two-stopper as well.


Unusually, both Formula 2 and Formula 3 will take place at Sochi, following a calendar change for Formula 3, which now hosts its final round (of seven) at the Russian circuit. Formula 2 hosts round six of eight during the same weekend, with the P Zero Yellow medium and P Zero Purple being nominated. This is the same nomination that will be used for the final two rounds, and also the same nomination as F2 in Russia last year. Formula 3 returns to Sochi for the first time since 2019 (when Robert Shwartzman claimed the title on home territory) with the P Zero White hard tyre. With both championships and six races taking place across Formula 2 and Formula 3 this weekend, as well as Formula 1, Pirelli will bring more than 3500 tyres to Sochi.


“We’ve seen in the past that there’s been quite a lot of different strategic thinking, with all three compounds on the grid at the start of the race and varying tactics during the grand prix. Last year, the soft C5 performed better than expected and graining levels were reduced over all compounds between free practice and the race, due to high track evolution. In the past, some drivers have even tried a very early switch to the hardest compound and attempted to run all the way to the end, but last year this wasn’t quite possible as these days the asphalt has matured and is not as smooth as it was in the past. With the extra rubber on track from the very full schedule of support races this time, track evolution and grip should be further enhanced.”

PRESSURE 22.0 psi (front) | 20.0 psi (rear) -3.25° (front) | -2.00 ° (rear) CAMBER


  • The final round of the Pirelli-equipped GT World Challenge Sprint Cup takes place during the same weekend as the Russian Grand Prix, at the permanent Valencia circuit in Spain.
  • The World Rally Championship – exclusively supplied by Pirelli – has announced that the final round of this year’s series will take place at the Monza Rally from November 19-21, using stages located on and around the home of the Italian Grand Prix.
  • Pirelli recently displayed its very first FSC-certified (Forest Stewardship Council) road car tyre at the Munich Mobility Show, created with the accent on sustainable production.