Turkish GP: Preview - Pirelli


For Formula 1's first visit to Istanbul Park since 2011 (Pirelli's debut season in F1 of the modern era) the Italian firm has chosen the three hardest compounds in the range: C1 as the P Zero White hard, C2 as the P Zero Yellow medium, and C3 as the P Zero Red soft.

For the second time this year -as was the case in Portugal, the standard allocation of tyres has been slightly modified: the drivers will all get seven sets of soft, three sets of medium, and three sets of hard. Normally, it's eight softs, three mediums and two hards - but Turkey is so demanding that more of the harder compounds have been supplied: tyre stress as well as traction, downforce and lateral force are all very high.

The renowned Turn 8 is famously demanding: a very long multi-apex left-hander that's quite similar to Turn 3 at Sochi (which it inspired) and puts a huge amount of energy through the tyres, particularly the front-right.

The surface has been re-asphalted very recently and nobody knows exactly what the new asphalt will be like. In the absence of precise data regarding the new asphalt, a more conservative choice has been made.

Last but not least, there won't be any support events throughout the weekend, which means that the track might be very 'green' and dirty: especially on Friday.

Track Characteristics

The Istanbul Park track is known as one of Hermann Tilke's finest designs, with a wide variety of interesting high-speed corners, which take a lot out of the tyres. At the last grand prix there nine years ago, Sebastian Vettel had to make four pit stops en route to victory for Red Bull. In total, there were 80 pit stops during the 2011 grand prix and the highest number of overtaking manoeuvres seen in a dry race since 1983.

Turn 1 is another notable corner, while the straight also features a spectacular uphill kink that has similarities to Eau Rouge at Spa: in fact, this part of the track is often nicknamed 'faux rouge'.

Located on the Asian side of Istanbul, the circuit was not used extensively since 2011 and so has undergone safety modifications to bring it up to current Formula 1 standards. As well as some racing, it has also been used recently for the World Rallycross Championship.

Mario Isola: "Turkey is yet another new venue on this fascinating 2020 Formula 1 calendar, and although it's a place that we've been to before, to all intents and purposes we can consider it as a brand new circuit for us: especially as we don't have experience of the new asphalt. For tyres, we expect Turkey to be a challenge in terms of energy loads, which is why we have shifted the allocations towards the harder compounds - just as we did in Portimao, even though the new asphalt might be less severe than we were expecting. As has often been the case this year, the information gathered in free practice will be absolutely crucial, in terms of assessing not only degradation, but especially wear on such a demanding layout. Of course, no mention of Istanbul Park would be complete without talking about Turn 8: which this year will probably be taken flat-out by the latest generation of high-downforce Formula 1 cars, increasing the loads on the tyres accordingly. It's not going to be an easy race for them, so finding the right level of tyre management will be critical."

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Published: 09/11/2020
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