After a week off, the FIA Formula One World Championship returns this weekend with the Turkish Grand Prix at the Intercity Istanbul Park, where one of the most dramatic races of 2020 unfolded with rain playing a massive factor, something which looks a real possibility this weekend.
Formula 1 should be in Singapore this weekend, however with the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic the Singapore Grand Prix was replaced with a trip to Turkey. Pirelli have brought softer tyres to the circuit this weekend than they did last year. In 2020 the tyre manufacturer brought the hardest range of tyres whereas for this weekend they have gone one softer, bringing the C2, C3 and C4 tyres for the grand prix.
This is the second year in a row that Formula 1 will have raced in Turkey after a nine-year absence coming beforehand, therefore Pirelli and the teams have much better knowledge of the circuit going into the weekend. It is because of the knowledge gained last year as to the reason why Pirelli have brought softer tyres, after last seasons trip saw the circuit have low grip and average levels of abrasion, meaning for a very slippery surface.
Despite it’s slipperiness the surface which was re-asphalted just before last year’s race showed rapid evolution, it has also been jet-washed before this weekend meaning the drivers should have much more grip from the get-go, especially with the softer compounds at use.
Just like last season rain is forecast for periods over the weekend, which could impact any evolution of the circuit. This season’s race also comes a month earlier than last year, so the air and track temperature should benefit the teams and drivers more than the bitter cold they were welcomed with last season.
The Turkish Grand Prix last year saw Lewis Hamilton win the race and wrap up his seventh world title on a one-stop strategy, albeit from the full wet to the Intermediate compound.
Pirelli’s Head of F1 and Car Racing Mario Isola believes that there is the chance of higher wear levels this weekend with a softer compound than last year being used, in what will hopefully be just as dramatic a grand prix as last season.
“Turkey was one of the most dramatic and unpredictable races of last season, mostly due to a very slippery track as a consequence of low grip from the new asphalt. The slipperiness of the circuit, exacerbated by the rain, caught many people by surprise, and that’s why this year we’ve opted for a softer tyre nomination, also with the race taking place more than a month earlier, which should result in higher temperatures.
“Following our tyre nomination, the track has undergone a high-pressure water cleaning process, which should lead to greater roughness and more grip, so there’s also the possibility that with softer compounds we will face higher wear levels compared to last year. That’s something we will only find out when we get there, so the work done in free practice will be very useful. Because everything was so new last year, we took the conservative option of coming with the hardest tyres. Going a step softer this weekend will probably open up the possibility of a few different strategies as well.”