ROUND 14: Intercity Istanbul Park
Where: Istanbul, Turkey
When: SUNDAY, 15th November 2020
Time: 15:30 IST
Where to Watch: Disney Hotstar
A $40 million race track designed by Hermann Tilke, this circuit has been host to seven Formula 1 races so far from 2005-2011. Turkey held its first Grand Prix in August 2005 which was won by then McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen (Now Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari).
The track is famous for its high speed, left handed, multi-apex & downhill Turn 8 which thoroughly tests the drivers' commitment. In fact this turn inspired the design of Turn 3 at Sochi, Russia!
Lap records are usually made during a qualifying session but Juan Pablo Montoya's record of 1:24.770 on this circuit was made during the Turkish Grand Prix of 2005! It is yet to be beaten.
Ferrari and Mercedes have 3 victories each on this track - Ferrari: 2006, 2007 & 2008, Mercedes: 2005, 2009 & 2010.
This circuit in Akfirat is another entirely anticlockwise track comprising of 14 turns - 8 to the left and 6 to the right.
DRS Detection Zones: 2
Lap distance - 5.338 km
No. of laps - 58
Total Racing Distance - 309.396 kms
Tyre Compounds for this Race
This Turkish track is a nightmare for drivers and expected to be merciless to the tyres. The front right tyre is expected to take a brutal beating at Turn 8. The standard allocation of tyres has therefore been modified for the second time this season, as seen previously in Portimao, Portugal.
Standard Allocation: 8 softs, 3 mediums and 2 hards
Turkish GP Allocation: 7 softs, 3 mediums and 3 hards
9 years ago, Sebastian Vettel alone had to make 4 pit stops during his victory run for Red Bull!
The 2011 Grand Prix saw a total of 80 pit stops and the highest number of overtaking manoeuvres seen in a dry race since 1983!
The Istanbul track has been re-layered with new asphalt only 10 days ago and the oils are still seeping to the surface. Drivers have been calling it an "ice skating rink" and are struggling with grip as the sturdy hards need about 3 laps to attain working temperature.
Moreover, the ambient temperature has been averaging at less than 20 degrees centigrade with varying track temperature. FP1 saw a damp track causing reduced grip, increased slipping and spinning. FP2 inevitably harassed every driver with lack of tyre temperature and therefore 3-4 laps of reduced grip complicated further by the smooth asphalt.
FP3 was marred with rain and the track was "terrifying" says Hamilton, who did only 3 laps in that weather. Charles Leclerc looked in control in his underperforming Ferrari in second position with Vettel in 6th place which is a significant improvement for him as well this season.
With a slippery track, jeopardising weather conditions and the 2 Mercs lacking race pace, what does Qualifying hold in store? STAY TUNED!
Who to Watch For:
Lewis Hamilton is expected to grab a record equalling 7th World Championship on Sunday with the consistency he is showing at the helm this season. Will Istanbul host the 7 time world champion? Here's the possible permutations for the upcoming race.
Max Verstappen has demolished both the Mercedes in FP1 as well as FP2, but Hamilton has been known to not unleash the full power of his car in Friday practice sessions. However, Max remains a solid contender for pole. With a pro-downforce approach and a fast paced car, Red Bull has equipped him with exactly what is needed on this circuit.
All pictures used in this post are the courtesy of the Formula 1 website, F1 Instagram page and the Pirelli website.