Turkish GP: McLaren preview

Turkey will host its first Formula One Grand Prix this coming weekend, introducing a new country and circuit to the sport. The 5.340km / 3.318 mile Istanbul Speed Park is located 80kms / 50miles to the east of the city, on the Asian side of the ...

Turkey will host its first Formula One Grand Prix this coming weekend, introducing a new country and circuit to the sport. The 5.340km / 3.318 mile Istanbul Speed Park is located 80kms / 50miles to the east of the city, on the Asian side of the Bosporus.

The track, the technical infrastructure of which was provided by Team McLaren Mercedes Technology Partner Siemens, is characterised by a number of gradient changes, having been built on four different levels. It is formed of six right handers and eight left turns. It is between 14 and 21.5 metres wide and races will be run anti-clockwise as with Imola and Interlagos.

The grandstands are capable of seating 75,000, with the natural banking providing space for 50,000 more. Over 124,000 tyres have been used to build the tyre barriers at the track.

Construction of the Hermann Tilke designed Speed Park began on 10th September 2003 on an area larger than 2.2 million square metres, and it is the second motor racing circuit to be built in Turkey. Izmir race track is the other, located at Pinabashi.

The inaugural Turkish Grand Prix will be the first `sail-away' race, with a ship transporting all the team trucks from Trieste in Italy to Istanbul.

Team McLaren Mercedes arrives in Turkey in second position in the Constructors' Championship with 105 points, 12 points off current leaders Renault. Kimi remains second in the Drivers' World Championship with 61 points whilst Juan Pablo is fifth with 34 points.

Kimi Raikkonen:

"It was a great result in Hungary for me and there are still six races with a maximum of 60 points to be won for a driver. As there is no testing at the Istanbul Speed Park, this is the first time I will have seen the track this weekend."

"I have seen graphics and it looks like a good layout with a mix of challenges, such as slow and fast corners, long straights, and elevation changes. I hope we can put on a good race at the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix for the Turkish fans and everybody watching TV worldwide."

Juan Pablo Montoya:

"I enjoy driving on newly designed circuits, such as Malaysia and Shanghai, so I am looking forward to the Turkish Grand Prix. The car feels great and hopefully I will be able to make the most of it this weekend and finish on the podium. When we get there on Thursday I will go for a recce with my engineers, to take a close look at braking points, cambers, apexes and so on."

"It should be quite a quick track, the estimated top speeds are around 320km/h. The longest straight is just over 700 metres, it has a slight right kink in the middle and it will be interesting to see what affect this will have on overtaking along this section of the track."

Pedro de la Rosa:

"I had the opportunity to visit the Istanbul Speed Park earlier this year, when the circuit was in the final stages of construction. It looks like a great track, with some interesting and unique corners. Because we have no track data, the process of selecting the correct tyre with Michelin on Friday will be particularly key."

Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula One, Team McLaren Mercedes:

"Following the Hungarian Grand Prix, the pace of work within the team has been unrelenting. This has included final preparations for the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix, using CFD tools provided by BAE SYSTEMS running on Sun Microsystems Technical Computing Farms."

"As we don't have a previous bank of data, there will be some additional set-up work to conduct on the track on Friday, and Pedro will be focusing solely on tyre choice with Michelin. There has been the chance for those who have been travelling to take a well deserved short break but everyone is now keen to get back to racing and the fight for the Championships."

Norbert Haug, Vice President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"With the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix this coming weekend we enter the final and crucial stage of the 2005 World Championship with six races in eight weeks until the final at Shanghai on 16 October. The Istanbul Otodrom has an interesting circuit design."

"The track has been adjusted to the terrain as known from classical circuits such as the Nürburging Nordschleife and Spa. The corners require a lot of downforce; however, the cars also need high speed on the straights. It will be a real challenge for drivers and engineers to evaluate the optimum set-up. It will be interesting to see who will find the best balance for this new track."

-mclaren-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Mercedes , McLaren