Turkish GP: Michelin preview

Two continents, one goal After its short summer recess, the Formula One world championship resumes this weekend with the Turkish Grand Prix, the 14th race of the campaign. Host city Istanbul is the only one on the calendar to straddle two ...

Two continents, one goal

After its short summer recess, the Formula One world championship resumes this weekend with the Turkish Grand Prix, the 14th race of the campaign. Host city Istanbul is the only one on the calendar to straddle two continents: Europe and Asia.

Located about 50 kilometres (31 miles) from the centre of Istanbul, on the Asian side of the River Bosphorus, Istanbul Park is the newest circuit on the world championship calendar. One of only three F1 tracks that run counter-clockwise (Imola and Interlagos are the others), its spectacular, 5.338-kilometre (3.317-mile) layout and cutting-edge facilities were warmly received by teams, drivers and the media when it staged its maiden F1 grand prix last August.

Pole position qualifier Kimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes) won 2005's inaugural event, which proved to be a spectacular success for Michelin. Five of the Clermont-Ferrand company's partner teams completed a clean sweep of the top nine positions.

Michelin's view
Nick Shorrock, Formula One director, Michelin:

"Following Formula One's brief break, we move on to Istanbul for the Turkish Grand Prix - only the second such race in the nation's history. Temperatures are usually high in Turkey at this time of year although, as we saw in Budapest recently, such traditions are there to be broken."

"Istanbul Park has a dense asphalt surface that will have evolved during the past 12 months. It features a number of elevation changes, a blend of high and slow corners and a long main straight. This is what we call a front-limited circuit and the tyres have to be adapted accordingly."

"There might have been two free weekends since the last race, but Michelin has not been idle. We have continued our development programme in various areas in order to produce competitive products for our six partner teams. We have been working on compounds and tyre constructions and evaluating how our teams can use both to best effect."

"Our Istanbul products are in the medium to medium/hard sector and were chosen in part during the Jerez test session during week 29. Close analysis of data acquired during the two subsequent race weekends, in Germany and Hungary, allowed us to finalise our selection."

"The nature of F1 dictates that our partners are working hard to optimise their car-tyre packages and the close working relationship we have with each of them has enabled us to produce a broad range of tyres to suit their needs. The season might be drawing towards its conclusion, but the pace of development remains relentless and we have every confidence that we can maintain Michelin's rich vein of form."

Team perspective:
Kimi Räikkönen, Team McLaren Mercedes:

"Istanbul Park is a terrific circuit- demanding on the cars, but great fun to drive. It has lots of different types of corner, some straights and a few elevation changes. None of these really affects the set-up; they just make it more interesting. There are opportunities to overtake going into the first corner, as I found to my cost last year, and also along the stretch that takes you into the low-speed Turn 12."

"Last season everybody talked about the double-apex left-hander through Turns Seven and Eight. It was bumpier than we expected and, because it is such a long, fast corner, if you don't get the line exactly right you get bounced off the track. The same is true if you lift or accelerate at the wrong moment. We exit the turn flat out at 310kph (193mph) and it is vital to attain this speed because you don't want to lose time coming onto one of the short straights at the back of the track."

"The level of tyre degradation is medium in Istanbul and the Michelin compounds we will use are harder than average, although not as hard as those we ran at Silverstone and Barcelona."

-credit: michelin

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Kimi Raikkonen
Teams Mercedes , McLaren