The purpose-built anti-clockwise circuit on the outskirts of Istanbul 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. Combine this with the challenge of Turn 8, which is one of the most demanding 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 curbs 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 critical high-speed corners at Istanbul Park, but the team 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 tires, especially with Turn 8 which puts high loadings through the tires, particularly the front right. Bridgestone will therefore supply the hard and medium compounds from their range, as was the case for the Spanish Grand Prix. The timing of the race will also have a noticeable impact on tire 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 tires.
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. Overall around 65% of the lap is spent on full throttle, which is about average for the circuits on the calendar.
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