Sebastian Vettel has happy memories of the Intercity Istanbul Park circuit, with the German the last driver to have tasted victory at the track when Formula 1 last raced in Turkey back in 2011.
The Scuderia Ferrari driver also made headlines his on-track debut in the sport at the track back in 2008 when he participated in the first free practice session for the BMW Sauber F1 Team, although he also earned himself a record for the quickest penalty in history that day by speeding in the pitlane on his way out on the track.
2020 has not been Vettel’s year, with a best finish of sixth and only eighteen points to his name, with the German uncharacteristically sitting fourteenth in the Drivers’ Championship with four races of the season remaining.
“I am happy to be going back to Istanbul Park, a circuit that holds many happy memories and some less so,” said Vettel. “For example, you could say my Formula 1 career began here in 2008, as I made the headlines setting the fastest time in what was my second Friday free practice session appearance with BMW Sauber. And I also won here in 2011, the last time we came to Turkey.
“It’s a very interesting track which is very nice to drive. There are several changes of elevation that are much more severe than they appear on television, as well as some very exciting sections.
“Of course that includes Turn 8 with its three apexes, but actually, from a technical point of view, this track has a bit of everything. And I think that those drivers who have never been here before will also like it right from the start.”
“I am particularly looking forward to experiencing turn 8” – Charles Leclerc
Unlike Vettel, team-mate Charles Leclerc has never been to Istanbul Park before, and he is excited to see what all the fuss is about after speaking to other drivers who have experienced the track in the past.
The Monegasque racer says he is particularly looking forward to the four-apexed turn eight, while Leclerc is also looking to outscore Daniel Ricciardo as he looks to beat the Renault DP World F1 Team racer to fourth place in the Drivers’ Championship.
“This will be my first time at Istanbul Park,” said Leclerc. “I’ve watched a few videos of races and I’ve spoken to those who have raced there already, and all the comments seem positive.
“I can see the layout is very varied, with gradient changes and some spectacular corners. I am particularly looking forward to experiencing turn 8. It will be interesting to see how the current cars perform there, which will be something new for everyone.”