Gradients, swooping curves, an anti-clockwise layout and a dramatic triple-apex bend make Istanbul Park one of the drivers’ favourites on the FIA Formula One World Championship calendar. Built for the 2005 season by architect Hermann Tilke – creator of several other Formula One venues – Istanbul Park allowed Turkey to become a new Formula One host nation. And in the five grands prix held since, Ferrari's Felipe Massa, who won a hat-trick of races from 2006-2008, each time from pole position, has emerged as the man to beat.
The circuit, known colloquially as the ‘Otodrom’, is located 50km from central Istanbul, on the Asian side of the Bosphorus River and its proximity to one of the world’s most vibrant cities makes it a popular destination with drivers, teams and fans alike. A demanding track, with sections that echo corners of classic venues such as Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium and Interlagos in Brazil, it will undoubtedly favour teams whose cars are best able to adapt to its many and varied challenges.
FAST FACTS: TURKISH GRAND PRIX
• The Turkish Grand Prix is the longest ‘road trip’ undertaken by the Formula One teams. For UK-based squads it’s a journey of more than 3000 km to Istanbul Park, either overland or with a sea-freight leg from Trieste in Italy to Pendik, the closest Turkish port.
• Turn 8 boasts some of the most impressive statistics of any corner encountered on the Formula One tour: drivers experience up to 5g cornering force as they pass through it at around 160mph; it takes approximately seven seconds from entry to exit and depending on the line taken, it has three or four apexes, each related to the other. Drivers missing an early Turn 8 apex are unable to ‘recover’ the lap.
• The fast downhill left-hand Turn 1 has been the scene of a number of racing incidents in the circuit’s short history. As one of the best passing spots on the track, it encourages passing manoeuvres, yet still allows a leading driver to defend against a challenging car.
• Istanbul Park is one of only four anti-clockwise circuits on the 2010 Formula One calendar, the others being: Interlagos (Brazil); the Singapore street circuit and the Yas Marina circuit (Abu Dhabi).
Length of lap: 5.338km
Lap record: 1:24.770 (Juan-Pablo Montoya,2005,McLaren)
Start line/finish line offset: 0.208km
Total number of race laps: 58
Total race distance: 309.396km
Pitlane speed limits: 60km/h during practice sessions; 100km/h during qualifying and race
[CONTENT COURTESY THE FIA]