100 years since the last Russian GP, now is the right time to return


1914 was a year that saw the world change forever. Following the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, a series of events led to one of the bloodiest conflicts man has even known: World War One.

However, in the months leading up to the outbreak of war, a very different battle was being waged. The early days of grand prix racing saw manufacturers and drivers producing automobile behemoths (for their time, of course) in an attempt to be the best in the world – much like today.

Back then, there was no formal world championship, but instead a series of events that took place across Europe. It was a far simpler time.

One of the final events in the 1914 racing season was the second Russian Grand Prix. This weekend’s race in Sochi is not, contrary to popular belief, the first. It is indeed the first Russian GP to be part of the world championship, but back in 1913 and 1914, there were races held around the streets of St. Petersburg, the old capital.

These were the days before DRS, KERS, active suspension – or even seatbelts. They were the formative years of grand prix racing. Although it is a world away from the modern sport we now know, it is important to remember your roots.

The race in 1914 took place in May, and was not as well attended as many had hoped due to the upcoming French Grand Prix, which was the blue-riband event of the grand prix calendar. Nevertheless, 15 runners took to the streets of St. Petersburg for the race that was run over 210 ‘versts’ – a Russian measurement of around 1.1km – and was won in a little under two hours by German driver Willy Scholl, who went lights-to-flag and won by ten minutes in his Mercedes-Benz. Nico Rosberg will be hoping to follow in his footsteps this weekend.

By the middle of August in 1914, all-out war had broken in Europe. Men and boys were sent out onto the frontline to fight for their nation – 16 million never came home.

In Russia, the war was one that would change the history of the nation forever. As Emperor Nicholas II saw his nation crumbling around him, the Bolsheviks seized power. Led by Vladimir Lenin, the new communist order that had been established in the Soviet Union – and defended in the civil war – would remain for over three-quarters of a century.

Unsurprisingly, grand prix racing didn’t even think about going back to the Soviet Union for a good while. In 1950, the Formula 1 world championship was formed, and grand prix racing was finally ‘official’ in the sense that it all added up to something.

In the 1980s, Bernie Ecclestone came to wield a great deal of power in the sport, and began to set his sights on a field further away than Europe. We speak today of the sport’s ambition for exponential global expansion, but the early roots are easy to see.

Holding a race in eastern Europe may not seem very wild in the modern context, but back in the ‘80s, the idea of a grand prix taking place on the other side of the iron curtain of communism was unfathomable – but Bernie wanted it. He wanted a grand prix to be held in the Soviet Union.

He fell short in the end, with the Hungarian Grand Prix being the alternative and coming into force in 1986. Although it was a different state to the Soviet Union with its goulash communism, and given how close we were to the end of the Cold War period, it was still a venture into the unknown.

At this year’s race in Hungary, I got speaking to an older journalist. “I remember when we first came here,” he said. “We walked around Budapest. You could still see the bulletholes from the revolution.” It was a very different time.

So what about the here and now? Why is 2014 the right year for Russia to host grand prix racing once again?

Maybe saying that 2014 is precisely the right time isn’t quite right, as the modern nation has developed rapidly over the past two decades. It is the R that makes up the BRIC nations, noted for their rapid economic growth and lucrative markets. Right there is one reason why now is good for F1 to head to Russia.

Secondly, Russian drivers are out and about. Daniil Kvyat may not have been the first, but he appears to be the best so far, and will be driving for Red Bull next season. A Russian world champion in the next five to ten years is entirely possible. Just as Michael Schumacher got Germany going gaga for F1 in the ‘90s, Daniil could do the same for Russia.

In sporting terms, Russia’s stock has grown considerably of late. The 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi were a success, and by taking F1 there, a succession plan for the complex is in place. It won’t become empty like the sites in Athens and Sydney have. The 2018 FIFA World Cup is heading to Russia, and its presence as a huge power on the global sporting stage has been recognised. A grand prix will only further these credentials.

Of course, there have been a number of concerns about taking the sport to Russia, with many coming in the wake of the crisis in the Crimea and the MH17 disaster. Ultimately, the FIA’s stance has been that sports and politics needn’t mix. Taking the grand prix there has nothing to do with Russian politics at all.

Now is good for F1, and now is good for Russia. Some 100 years after Willy Scholl crossed the line to claim victory around the streets of St. Petersburg, another man will do the same this weekend, following in the footsteps of a mark left when the world was a very different place indeed.

IndyCar Detroit Grand Prix: How to watch, start times, TV, schedules, streaming

IndyCar Detroit start times
Ryan Garza/USA TODAY Sports Images Network

The NTT IndyCar Series will return to the Motor City for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix but with start times in a new location for 2023.

After a 30-year run on Belle Isle, the Detroit GP has moved a few miles south to the streets of downtown on a new nine-turn, 1.7-mile circuit that runs along the Detroit River.

It’s the first time single-seater open-cockpit cars have raced on the streets of Detroit since a CART event on a 2.5-mile downtown layout from 1989-91. Formula One also raced in Detroit from 1982-88.

The reimagined Detroit Grand Prix also will play host to nightly concerts and bring in venders from across the region. Roger Penske predicts the new downtown locale will be bigger for Detroit than when the city played host to the 2006 Super Bowl.

Here are the details and IndyCar start times for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach race weekend (all times are ET):


TV: Sunday, 3 p.m. ET on NBC and streaming on Peacock, the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com. Leigh Diffey is the announcer with analysts Townsend Bell and James Hinchcliffe. Dave Burns, Marty Snider and Kevin Lee are the pit reporters. Click here for the full NBC Sports schedule for IndyCar in 2023.

Peacock also will be the streaming broadcast for both practices and qualifying.

POSTRACE SHOW ON PEACOCK: After the race’s conclusion, an exclusive postrace show will air on Peacock with driver interviews, postrace analysis and the podium presentation. To watch the extended postrace show, click over to the special stream on Peacock after Sunday’s race ends.


GREEN FLAG: 3:30 p.m. ET

PRACTICE: Friday, 3 p.m. (Peacock Premium); Saturday, 9:05 a.m. (Peacock Premium); Sunday, 10 a.m. (Peacock Premium)

QUALIFYING: Saturday, 1:20 p.m. (Peacock Premium)

RACE DISTANCE: The race is 100 laps (170 miles) on a nine-turn, 1.7-mile temporary street course in downtown Detroit.

TIRE ALLOTMENT: Seven sets primary, four sets alternate. Rookie drivers are allowed one extra primary set for the first practice.

PUSH TO PASS: 150 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 15 seconds per activation (Indy NXT: 150 seconds total, 15 seconds per). The push-to-pass is not available on the initial start or any restart unless it occurs in the final two laps or three minutes of a timed race. The feature increases the power of the engine by approximately 60 horsepower.

FORECAST: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 80 degrees with a 0% chance of rain.

ENTRY LIST: Click here to view the 27 drivers racing Sunday at Detroit

INDY NXT RACES: Saturday, 12:05 p.m. 45 laps/55 minutes (Peacock Premium); Sunday, 12:50 p.m. 45 laps/55 minutes (Peacock Premium)

INDY NXT ENTRY LISTClick here to view the 19 drivers racing at Detroit


(All times are Eastern)

Friday, June 2

8:30-9:30 a.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

9:50-10:20 a.m.: Trans Am Series practice

11:40 a.m.-12:40 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

1-1:30 p.m.: Trans Am Series practice

1:50-2:40 p.m.: Indy NXT practice

3-4:30 p.m.: IndyCar practice, Peacock

4:50-5:05 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge qualifying

5:30-6 p.m.: IndyNXT qualifying (Race 1 and 2)

6-7:15 p.m.: A-Track concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

7:30-8:30 p.m.: Big Boi concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

Saturday, June 3

8:15-8:45 a.m.: Trans Am Series qualifying

9:05-10:05 a.m.: IndyCar practice, Peacock

10:35-11:35 a.m.: Trans Am Series, 3-Dimensional Services Group Muscle Car Challenge

12:05-1:00 p.m.: Indy NXT, Race 1 (45 laps or 55 minutes), Peacock

1:15-2:45 p.m.: IndyCar qualifying, Peacock

4:10-5:50 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, Chevrolet Detroit Sports Car Classic (100 minutes), Peacock

5:30-7 p.m.: Z-Trip concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

7-8:30 p.m.: Steve Aoki concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

Sunday, June 4

10:00-10:30 a.m.: IndyCar warmup, Peacock

11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Trans Am Series, 3-Dimensional Services Group Motor City Showdown

12:50-1:45 p.m.: Indy NXT, Race 2 (45 laps or 55 minutes), Peacock

2:47 p.m.: IndyCar driver introductions

3:23 p.m.: Command to start engines

3:30 p.m.: Green flag for the Chevrolet Detroit Prix, presented by Lear (100 laps/170 miles), NBC


ROUND 1Marcus Ericsson wins wild opener in St. Petersburg

ROUND 2Josef Newgarden wins Texas thriller over Pato O’Ward

ROUND 3: Kyle Kirkwood breaks through for first career IndyCar victory

ROUND 4: Scott McLaughlin outduels Romain Grosjean at Barber

ROUND 5: Alex Palou dominant in GMR Grand Prix

ROUND 6: Josef Newgarden wins first Indy 500 in 12th attempt 


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Marcus Ericsson, engineer Brad Goldberg have ties that run very deep

New competition elements for 2023 include an alternate oval tire

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IndyCar drivers say Thermal Club could host a race

IndyCar team owners weigh in on marketing plans, double points

Alexander Rossi fitting in well at McLaren

Phoenix takes flight: Romain Grosjean enjoying the pilot’s life

Helio Castroneves says 2023 season is “huge” for IndyCar future

How Sting Ray Robb got that name

Kyle Larson having impact on future McLaren teammates

Simon Pagenaud on why he likes teasing former teammate Josef Newgarden

HOW TO WATCH INDYCAR IN 2023Full NBC Sports schedule