The last time Robert Shwartzman drove at his home circuit in Sochi, he clinched the Formula 3 title in front of a rapturous Russian crowd. One year on, and he’s returning in the midst of another title fight, in Formula 2.

The Russian says that the circuit is a “special place” for him due to the home support and the positive memories he has from his time racing here last year.

“I am very excited,” he elated. “It’s great to be back. I have many great memories here from last year and having the support of the Russian fans makes this place even more special to me.

“Maybe added boost isn’t the right word, because I am motivated at every race track, but racing in front of my family, friends and my home crowd is for sure a great feeling and maybe more than anywhere else you hope to get good results.

“Having positive memories on a track does not exactly give you more confidence but you are always very happy to return to a place that was good to you in the past.”

Shwartzman will arrive in Sochi fourth in the Championship, five points off third, and 21 points off first place. Having endured a pointless weekend last time out in Mugello, the 21-year-old needs to bounce back in his home country, to remain in the hunt for the crown.

Despite the frustrations of Round 9, Shwartzman still came away with positives, praising the pace the team enjoyed in Italy which he says will give him confidence heading into this weekend.

“I have a good feeling about it and enjoy driving it quite a lot,” he continued. “I hope this will be the same with the F2 car as the only car I’ve driven at Sochi is the F3 car last year.

“Mugello was a bit frustrating because of the technical failure that compromised my result, but the pace was good.

“I also enjoyed Sunday’s race quite a lot trying to overtake as many cars as I could so I am pretty confident that with the pace we have we should be able to fight back in Sochi.”