With a year of uncertainty giving us a calendar that is far from ordinary, some classic tracks have returned to Formula 1 in 2020. This theme is set to continue this weekend, as the sport prepares to take to Turkey’s Intercity Istanbul Park for the first time since 2011.
Seeing as modern F1 cars have never before set a lap at the famed circuit, tyres are sure to be a big unknown for both teams and drivers – especially considering the forecasted changeable conditions.
The selected tyres for the race are the hardest of Pirelli Motorsport‘s range: the C1, C2 and C3 tyres. The reason behind this is that the track is perceived to generate a huge amount of stress on the car with all it’s fast and sweeping turns – especially the iconic turn eight.
Turn 1 is another notable corner, while the straight also features a spectacular uphill kink that has similarities to Eau Rouge at Spa Francorchamps: in fact, this part of the track is often nicknamed ‘faux rouge’.
Pirelli’s Mario Isola was one to consolidate these such challenges. He described the nature of the circuit and its effect on tyres whilst reinforcing the importance of practice in relation to the many unknowns going into the weekend.
“Turkey is yet another new venue on this fascinating 2020 Formula 1 calendar, and although it’s a place that we’ve been to before, to all intents and purposes we can consider it as a brand new circuit for us: especially as we don’t have experience of the new asphalt.
“For tyres, we expect Turkey to be a challenge in terms of energy loads, which is why we have shifted the allocations towards the harder compounds – just as we did in Portimao, even though the new asphalt might be less severe than we were expecting. As has often been the case this year, the information gathered in free practice will be absolutely crucial, in terms of assessing not only degradation, but especially wear on such a demanding layout.“
Isola went on to discuss the one and only turn eight. The corner that made Istanbul Park famous, turn eight is a series of seemingly never-ending sweeping left- handers which put immense pressure on the loaded tyres, and Pirelli believe this will be a corner that teams will need to masterfully manage so as to preserve their rubber.
“Of course, no mention of Istanbul Park would be complete without talking about Turn 8: which this year will probably be taken flat-out by the latest generation of high-downforce Formula 1 cars, increasing the loads on the tyres accordingly. It’s not going to be an easy race for them, so finding the right level of tyre management will be critical.”