– there will be no Super Aguri, no Takuma Sato , no Anthony Davidson
– there will be no shark fin on Toro Rosso yet
– there will be no hole in the nose of Ferrari car for this race
– Rubens Barrichello will celebrate his 257th F1 GP
– there will be no changes to the safety car rules
– the weather forecasts do not expect rain on Saturday and Sunday
– the weather is rather cool
We can’t be sure but we can expect another strong weekend from Ferrari. Out of the last 6 Formula One races 5 were won by Ferrari driver. It gets even more scary if we talk about Turkish Grand Prix. The inaugural race in 2005 was won by Kimi Raikkonen (in McLaren that time), the last 2 races had one winner – Felipe Massa… But as it is with the investments – the past performances do not guarantee future returns. Ferraris were hot favourites for Australian Grand Prix too and we all know how that race ended up.
It is getting tigher behind Ferrari. It will be interesting to see who will come out on top this time – BMW Sauber or McLaren. The other unknown is Fernando Alonso. Was his new found pace in Barcelona just an one race wonder is he ready to fight with Kubica, Kovalainen, Heidfeld and Hamilton for the rest of the season ?
Toyota, Red Bull, Honda and Williams will all aim at Q3 and hope for some points. The demise of Super Aguri reduced the grid to 20 cars only. That alters the qualifying format. Only top 15 will now make it to Q2, that means 5 cars will be eliminated after Q1. Up to now it was 2 Super Aguris + 4 others … Now it will be 5 others. The quest for Q2 just got more difficult for David Coulthard …
Track technical info (ING Renault F1 data):
The purpose-built anti-clockwise circuit offers a mix of challenging low and high-speed corners. Overtaking is difficult, especially in the first half of the lap, but the long back straight leading into the tight hairpin of Turn 12 offers the ideal opportunity for outbraking. This combined with the challenge of Turn 8, one of the most demanding corners of the year, and you have all the ingredients for an exciting Grand Prix.
As a new facility the track surface at Istanbul is in good condition and the kerbs are not especially aggressive making it relatively straightforward to find a stable car balance. The team will seek a compromise between stiffer settings for the high-speed part of the lap to give a good change of direction, and softer settings for the low-speed section of the lap to ensure good mechanical grip.
There are few high-speed corners at Istanbul Park, but the teams will still run with medium downforce settings in order to carry good speed through Turn 8. However, between Turns 3 to 5 and Turns 12 to 14, it is mechanical grip that predominates, rather than aero-generated grip.
The braking zone into Turn 12 after the long back straight is the most significant on the circuit. It also represents the best overtaking opportunity and will normally see plenty of action during the Grand Prix. Overall the circuit is not particularly demanding on the brakes, although with medium downforce settings the drivers may struggle with locking of the rear brakes, which will be further complicated by the new electronic regulations this year.
The Turkish Grand Prix is quite a demanding track on the tyres, especially with Turn 8 which puts high loadings through the tyres, particularly the front right. Bridgestone will therefore supply the hard and medium compounds from their range. The timing of the race will also have a noticeable impact on tyre wear, as in previous years the race was held in the middle of the summer. The May date should result in cooler conditions, giving a track surface that is slightly less demanding on the tyres.
Istanbul presents a varied workout for the engine, requiring both good top speed and low end performance. Turn 8 remains a constant concern where the engine is concerned as it is important to ensure effective power delivery at high revs for good performance in this high-speed corner. Around 65% of the lap is spent on full throttle, about average for the circuits on the calendar.
And this is the opinion from AT&T Williams Team
The purpose-built Istanbul Speed Park is an entirely different technical proposition to the previous race held at Barcelona. A modern circuit measuring just over 5.3kms per lap, the Otodrom is a challenging blend of long and short straights, interspersed with eight left and six right-hand corners. Each turn places different demands on the car and the driver, none more so than turn eight – the notorious triple apexer which is taken at speeds reaching 250km/h and which places between 4 and 4.5g of lateral loadings on the drivers 58 times during the course of the race.
Turkey also features some interesting gradient changes which, while not upsetting the balance of the car, must be taken into consideration during set-up. Like San Marino and Brazil, Turkey runs in an anti-clockwise direction which creates additional pressures – notably for the tyres, and particularly for the right front, as well as for the drivers’ neck muscles. Measuring 20m at its widest, and with large braking zones, the circuit also provides plenty of overtaking opportunities which should guarantee a compelling race.
An Istanbul lap with Robert Kubica:
Here are the top 10 from previous 3 Turkish Grands Prix:
1) Felipe Massa – Ferrari – 1:26:42.161
2) Kimi Räikkönen – Ferrari + 2.275
3) Fernando Alonso – McLaren + 26.181
4) Nick Heidfeld – BMW Sauber + 39.674
5) Lewis Hamilton – McLaren + 45.085
6) Heikki Kovalainen – Renault + 46.169
7) Nico Rosberg – Williams + 55.778
8)Robert Kubica – BMW Sauber + 56.707
9) Giancarlo Fisichella – Renault + 59.491
10) David Coulthard – Red Bull + 1:11.009
1) Felipe Massa – Ferrari – 1:28:51.082
2) Fernando Alonso – Renault +5.5 sec
3) Michael Schumacher – Ferrari +5.6 sec
4) Jenson Button – Honda +12.3 sec
5) Pedro de la Rosa – McLaren-Mercedes +45.9 sec
6) Giancarlo Fisichella – Renault +46.5 sec
7) Ralf Schumacher – Toyota +59.3 sec
8)Rubens Barrichello – Honda +60.0 sec
9) Jarno Trulli – Toyota +1 Lap
10) Mark Webber – Williams-Cosworth +1 Lap
1) Kimi Räikkönen – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:24:34.454
2) Fernando Alonso – Renault +18.6 sec
3) Juan Pablo Montoya – McLaren-Mercedes +19.6 sec
4) Giancarlo Fisichella – Renault +37.9 sec
5) Jenson Button – BAR-Honda +39.3 sec
6) Jarno Trulli – Toyota +55.4 sec
7) David Coulthard – RBR-Cosworth +69.2 sec
8)Christian Klien – RBR-Cosworth +71.6 sec
9) Takuma Sato – BAR-Honda +109.987 sec
10) Rubens Barrichello – Ferrari +1 Lap
Photo: At&T Williams / LAT