Munich/Hinwil, 2nd May 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...
Munich/Hinwil, 2nd May 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.
"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."
"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."
History and background:
The rollercoaster circuit designed by Aachen-based architect Herman Tilke entered the Formula One calendar in 2005. Prior to that there had been no Turkish Grand Prix. Thanks to the successful design of the complex and the attractions of the city of Istanbul, this newcomer to the fold has enjoyed tremendous popularity from the outset.
Istanbul encompasses the southern end of the Bosphorus strait, which divides it into a European part in the west and an Asian part in the east. The Golden Horn is an inlet of the Bosphorus that runs westwards and divides the European part of the city into a southern peninsula flanked by the Sea of Marmara and the Golden Horn, where historic Istanbul is located, and the northern districts of the city bordering on historic Galata.
The centre of former Constantinople is dominated by imposing sacred architecture. The city limits encircle an area of 1,538.77 square kilometres, while the metropolitan region of Istanbul covers 5,220 square kilometres. The city's population has passed the ten million mark.
The statistical mean top temperature in May is 21 degrees Celsius. In August, when the GP was previously held, it is around eight degrees higher than that. But in absolute terms the difference in highest temperatures is even greater: 34C in May and 49C in August.
-credit: bmw sauber