The Formula 1 fraternity travels to Istanbul this week for the second Turkish Grand Prix, following the event's debut on the calendar last year at the purpose-built Istanbul Speed Park.
The Formula 1 fraternity travels to Istanbul this week for the second Turkish Grand Prix, following the event's debut on the calendar last year at the purpose-built Istanbul Speed Park. The track, which is located on the Asian side of the Bosphorus river, is 90km east of the city centre.
Three weeks since the last event the summer test break means that no testing has been possible since the last two back-to-back races. With ten points separating Alonso from Schumacher, Turkey is important for the championship as there are only five other rounds left in the season.
Turkey made its Formula One debut last year at an all-new purpose-built circuit just outside Istanbul. The track was designed by Herman Tilke, the man behind the new circuits in Malaysia, Bahrain and China, featuring fourteen turns - eight lefts and six rights - with the cars reaching speeds of up to 320kph along the two main straights.
An unusual feature is that the lap will run anti-clockwise, making the Turkish Grand Prix only the third race on the calendar to do so, San Marino and Brazil being the other two venues. It possesses a wide variety of turns - many replicating legendary corners from historic circuits around the world. The character of the circuit is further enhanced by plenty of gradient changes - the most extreme of any current F1 track.
As the F1 fraternity have come to expect from brand new venues, the facilities are equally as impressive. Seating capacity at Istanbul Park is 155000, with 25000 of those in the main grandstand, and parking is available for 20000 cars. Dominating the circuit's skyline are two seven-floor towers built at either end of the paddock for VIPs and the media.
Race Distance 58 laps
Circuit Length 3.318 miles (5.340 kms)
Turkey Tech File
After a three-weak break, the Renault F1 Team will begin the final phase of the 2006 world championship with the second ever Turkish Grand Prix. High temperatures, the newest circuit on the calendar and a demanding layout that includes one of the season's most demanding corners, turn 8, should make for a demanding weekend.
Aerodynamics: Istanbul Park is a very modern circuit, and therefore still in good condition. The track surface is very smooth and the kerbs are not particularly aggressive, which should mean it is relatively easy to find a stable car balance. We will use a lower downforce level than at recent races: the package for Turkey will be nearer to the medium downforce set-up employed at the North American rounds of the championship.
Tyres: The tyres are not given a particularly hard time in Turkey, but we must pay special attention to the front tyres, and particularly the right front, which suffer in turn 8. Indeed, this corner is among the most demanding of the whole season for the front end of the car. To avoid any potential problems, teams adjust suspension settings and front wing angle; however, they must always be mindful of finding the correct balance between protecting the tyres and maintaining mechanical grip, to ensure the car is quick in the more technical parts of the circuit.
Suspension: To limit tyre wear, particularly at the front of the car, the main parameters adjusted are the suspension settings. Given the demands of the circuit and its good condition, teams use relatively stiff settings that mean the car changes direction well in the technical portions, and remains stable in the high-speed turns.
Brakes: The braking zone for turn 12 is the most significant on the circuit, and getting it wrong can cost the drivers a lot of time as they overshoot the apex in this slow corner. In overall terms, though, the Istanbul Park circuit is not particularly demanding on the brakes, which can cool on the long straights before the main braking zones.
Performance: Istanbul Park is a varied circuit for the engine. Almost 65% of the lap is spent at full throttle, which is an average value for the season. Teams need a tractable engine, with good top speed for overtaking on the main straight - but without compromising low end performance. They also look carefully at power delivery at high revs, which will make turn 8 easier to negotiate.
Cooling: Temperatures in Turkey are expected to be extremely high, but this should not pose any problems for engine cooling. At this stage of the season, we fully understand the cooling needs of the car, and there are no slow sections in which the engine might risk overheating. Furthermore, the long straights will ensure the engine is well cooled.