Istanbul: Bridgestone preview

The Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series heads to Turkey for its second round, where two races on Bridgestone's hard compound GP2 slick racing Potenza will be played out on the challenging and diverse Istanbul circuit, scene of the Petrol Ofisi...

The Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series heads to Turkey for its second round, where two races on Bridgestone's hard compound GP2 slick racing Potenza will be played out on the challenging and diverse Istanbul circuit, scene of the Petrol Ofisi Turkish Grand Prix on 9-11 May.

The hard compound Bridgestone Potenza has already been used once before this season, in Barcelona, where Alvaro Parente (Super Nova) and Kamui Kobayashi (DAMS) both won a race. Turkey will mark the last time this season that the hard compound is used.

Istanbul is a difficult track to master. There is a mix of gradient and a range of different radius corners as well as long straights and high speed sections. It is a recently constructed wide track with a layout which allows a variety of lines into corners, aiding overtaking. It is the only circuit used by GP2 this season to be run in an anti-clockwise direction, meaning the tyres on the right-hand side of the car will get a tougher workout than usual.

The track can be characterised as one that is challenging for the tyres given the high speeds and layout. The ambient and track temperatures should be lower than those experienced last season as Turkey is visited far earlier than previously. However, the heavy braking and high G-forces from the corners mean a lot of heat is generated by the tyres themselves.

In 2007, Lucas di Grassi (ART) and Timo Glock (iSport) took the race wins. di Grassi's win came in the Saturday feature race whilst Glock's win came in the sprint race on Sunday.

Heading to Turkey, Parente leads the drivers' championship on 11 points, with Bruno Senna (iSport) equal on 11 points, but without a race win. Giorgio Pantano (Racing Engineering) has nine points for third in the standings. The teams' championship is led by Super Nova on 11 points, with iSport also having the same points tally. Racing Engineering are in third position with 10 points.

Quote from Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development

"Turkey is a track with a very high speed corner at turn 11 and a very long corner at turn eight which encourage a high rate of tyre wear and this is why we bring our hardest compound tyre. The track is anti- clockwise which means the right tyres will be under more stress at this circuit as opposed to the left tyres at all clockwise circuits. Of course, drivers will also experience greater stresses on their necks as they are not accustomed to running in this direction. Some of the new circuits on the GP2 calendar provide less opportunity to overtake but Turkey is an exception as it provides opportunities at turn one, turn 11 and turn 12. It will be very interesting to see how fast the new GP2 / 08 car is at this track."

Stats & Facts
Number & Spec of tyres for Istanbul: 760 (hard)
Pole position time 2007: 1m 34.278s - L Filippi, Super Nova
Fastest race lap 2007: 1m 35.551s - N Lapierre, DAMS (R1)
Top three 2007 race1: L di Grassi (ART), G Pantano (Campos), A Carroll (FMS)
Top three 2007 race 2: T Glock (iSport), A Negrao (Minardi Piquet), A Carroll (FMS)

Bridgestone GP2 Series: Q&A with Lucas di Grassi

The Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series heads to one of the toughest challenges on the calendar for the second round of the season held at the Istanbul Park Circuit alongside the Petrol Ofisi Turkish Grand Prix. Last season, Brazilian driver Lucas di Grassi won his first GP2 Series race in Istanbul, and the ART driver went on to finish second in the drivers' championship standings. Now a test driver for the ING Renault F1 Team, di Grassi gives his wisdom ahead of this year's Turkish races.

Q. How much did you learn in your two seasons in the GP2 Series?

A. I learned a lot from GP2: not only to drive, but also the circuits, the atmosphere and being close to Formula One. GP2 was my finishing school, my university before I got the job in Formula One. While other categories like F3 are important, I think GP2 plays a very important role as a fine tuning category; it is a fast car, very close to Formula One, and you race at the same circuits. That was the key for me to learn for Formula One.

Q. What advice would you give a driver in his first season of GP2 Series?

A. Just to take it easy. It is a very long championship, you can go through a lot of ups and downs, and there are very difficult tracks. They should try and learn as much as they can as they will need it for the following year.

Q. As a racing driver how crucial is tyre management for success?

A. I think it's crucial because in any motorsport, from F1 to karting, it is one of the most important things. In GP2 it is especially important as we have a very, very powerful car with no traction control, so you have to really take care of your tyres during the race. How you warm up the tyres and which tyre pressure you have to use to be perfect is very difficult, so you try to be as good as you can.

Q. How much did you learn from working with the Bridgestone tyre engineers and how much has this helped you with your current role as test driver for the ING Renault F1 Team?

A. The tyre job is pretty much the same in GP2 and F1. It's pretty much the same feedback that you must give, how quick the tyres warm-up, how good is the wear, how good is the grip. So I learned a lot from GP2, working with the engineers, and arrived in Formula One already prepared to give the correct feedback.

Q. How difficult is the Istanbul circuit? What's the secret to a quick lap, and how should drivers manage their tyres there?

A. Istanbul is for me one of the best tracks of the season. It is one of the most difficult and has one of the best corners, the long left one [turn eight], which is really, really difficult on the body because of the G-forces. Normally it is very hot, so the tyre wear is high. I managed last year to get a good set-up on the car and tried to manage my tyre wear during the race, especially because we had an early pit stop. I managed to keep the tyres as good as possible and it paid off as I won the race.

-credit: bridgestone

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About this article
Series FIA F2
Drivers Giorgio Pantano , Alvaro Parente , Timo Glock , Lucas di Grassi , Bruno Senna , Kamui Kobayashi
Teams DAMS , Racing Engineering , Renault F1 Team