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Turkish GP: Preview - BMW

NEWS STORY
02/05/2008

The next stop on the world tour will see the Formula One entourage doing a daily commute between two continents: from the hotels and events on the European side of the sprawling city of Istanbul to the race track on the Asian side of the Bosphorus. At the challenging Istanbul Park circuit, which opened in 2005, the aim will be to come off as well as possible in the three-way contest between the top teams. Ferrari had a clear edge in Barcelona, while the BMW Sauber F1 Team and McLaren Mercedes were more or less level-pegging. There are no tests between the race in Barcelona and the Turkish Grand Prix on 11th May, but all the teams will be lining up with detail improvements again.

Nick Heidfeld: "I'm looking forward to the race in Istanbul, particularly to turn 8, the main feature of the track. It earned its fame in the very first grand prix because it is so tricky and causes plenty of spins and action. It's a very long, very fast corner with several apexes. Then you need a good top speed for the long back straight with its right-hand kink. But apart from the race track, I'm looking forward to Istanbul itself. This city is one huge international metropolis in a totally unique location. There's a lot more to discover there than our schedule ever allows."

Robert Kubica: "I don't have the best memories of the races in Istanbul Park, as last year and in 2006 they really didn't go at all well. Of course this time I hope my luck will change and I shall have a strong race. The race track itself is pretty interesting, and in turn 8 especially we face a lot of g-forces. Istanbul Park is one of the tracks where you have to find the right balance between high- and low-speed corners."

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "Our targets for the Turkish Grand Prix are clear: we want to consolidate our position among the leaders, where Ferrari is currently the yardstick. For the fifth race of the season we will be making detail improvements to the F1.08 again. The layout of this ultra-modern circuit on the Asian side of Istanbul is a real achievement and presents a true challenge. The race has been moved from the height of summer to this earlier date, which should make quite a difference to the demands on the teams and their material. Last year we had to contend with air temperatures of 36 degrees on race day.

"For the Formula One teams and their partners, an international metropolis like Istanbul is an excellent platform. For the first time in the 2008 season we have the BMW Sauber F1 Team Pit Lane Park in tow. It gives fans a chance to grasp – in the truest sense of the word – what they can normally only see from a distance. We have significantly extended the Park again, which now has space to accommodate even more visitors. Plus it now features new high-tech exhibits with which visitors are invited to experiment."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "The race in Barcelona showed the order at the top has not changed. Ferrari still has the advantage, while McLaren Mercedes and the BMW Sauber F1 Team are practically on a par. It's so close that the slightest modification could swing the pendulum either way. That's why we are pushing our development forward at full speed.

"Drivers race in an anti-clockwise direction at the Istanbul Park, which apart from that also provides plenty of variety. It has slow sections where good traction is called for, but then there's also the spectacular turn 8, which comprises four sections that are taken in one go at around 250 km/h. Because of the long, often uphill straights, the car's aerodynamic drag must be kept within limits. That's why for Istanbul we select a downforce setting a notch lower than in Barcelona."

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