James Rossi previews the Turkish GP

Turkish Grand Prix time at Istanbul Park

Turkish Grand Prix time at Istanbul Park

May.25 (James Rossi) Round Seven of the 2010 Formula One World Championship takes us to Turkey, for the sixth running of the Turkish Grand Prix. The Istanbul Park Otodrom lies east of the worlds fifth largest city, on the coastal motorway that links Istanbul and the capital, Ankara.

Istanbul Park is a Hermann Tilke designed circuit

Istanbul Park is a Hermann Tilke designed circuit

Designed by Hermann Tilke, the circuit is an anomaly in the portfolio of the German architect, as there are numerous elevation changes as well as an impressive amalgamation of low, medium and high speed corners. All of which provides us with an interesting Grand Prix to look forward to this coming Sunday.

Rather ominously, it was Red Bull who dominated the streets of Monaco, providing us with irrefutable proof that the RB6 is more than capable around any configuration of circuit. Back-to-back wins for Mark Webber have given him the momentum as we head into the long summer of the Formula One season. However, with news that young German Sebastian Vettel is to be handed a new chassis after a defect was found in the previous one, it can’t be taken for granted that Webber will subconsciously assume the number one status at Red Bull.

2009 Turkish Grand Prix podium with winner Jenson Button, second placed Mark Webber and third placed Senastian Vettel

2009 Turkish Grand Prix podium with winner Jenson Button, second placed Mark Webber and third placed Senastian Vettel

The long, sweeping corners that make up a large part of the Istanbul Park track will once again provide Red Bull with an opportunity to further cement their advantage. Due to the reliance on strong aerodynamic downforce around a circuit such as Istanbul Park, all signs point to Red Bull once again being at the top of the pile.

Lewis Hamilton has been quoted as saying that Turkey will suit the McLaren, and to an extent he is correct. In similar circumstances, Hamilton was on course to split the Red Bulls in Barcelona, only to retire with a wheel rim failure within sight of the finish.

The problem in 2010 however, is not whether your car is suited to a particular circuit, but whether your car is suited enough to matching or beating the Red Bull machinery. With the longer wheelbase of the MP4-25, Turkey should indeed match the strengths of the British-based team.

Motorsports / Formula 1: World Championship 2010, GP of Spain, 01 Jenson Button (GBR, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes),  *** Local Caption *** +++ www.hoch-zwei.net +++ copyright: HOCH ZWEI +++

Jenson Button needs a good result in Turkey

A quiet Monaco weekend for Jenson Button that ended in disappointment should translate to a solid result for the Briton this Sunday. The incumbent World Champion knows that he has lost the impetus in the title race and his conservative style could play into his hands on a circuit that tends to hurt tyres more often than not.

In the elite club of the top four, Ferrari will also be knocking at the Red Bull door. A significant upgrade for both front and rear wings will be rolled out on Friday morning in the Italian garage, with the sole aim of recapturing some of the downforce deficit against Red Bull. Fernando Alonso is only three points shy of Mark Webber, which is masking the true performance difference between the two teams at the moment.

Felipe Massa has won the Turkish GP three times out of five

Felipe Massa has won the Turkish GP three times out of five

The Spaniard will be hoping for reliability issues to strike once more if he is to have any hope of overcoming Vettel and Webber. On the other side of the garage, Felipe Massa will be buoyed by his super record in Turkey, with three wins to his name since 2006. On the other hand, he has the burgeoning thought of Alonso’s continued presence at the back of his mind.

Mercedes have struggled of late, and it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the German-owned team have fundamentally erred in the design of the W01. With a heavier front end, understeer has become a natural characteristic of the car which leads to higher front tyre degradation. It has been well documented that the returning Michael Schumacher has struggled with the car, whilst Nico Rosberg seems to have got to grips with the bulky Mercedes.

Motorsports / Formula 1: World Championship 2010, GP of Malaysia, 04 Nico Rosberg (GER, Mercedes GP Petronas), 03 Michael Schumacher (GER, Mercedes GP Petronas),

Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher have big upgrades for Turkey

A raft of upgrades once more from Mercedes should keep them in contention, as well as the introduction of a revised version of the F-Duct. It is however doubtful that any radical introduction for the German manufacturer will be sufficient enough to bring them up to par with the overwhelmingly fast Red Bull, ironically owned by an Austrian.

Renault’s pace in Monaco will prove to be an anomaly, as Robert Kubica took full advantage of a favourable set of characteristics on the R30 to back up the Red Bull duo of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel. Like Mercedes, an aggressive development programme has helped Renault maintain their pace, if not improve it slightly. A faster circuit such as Istanbul Park will be less suited to the traction-enhanced Renault, but it will be interesting to see just how much the talented Pole can ring out of the car. Memories return of Michael Schumacher in 1998, when in a fundamentally inferior Ferrari, he took the fight to the superior McLaren and impressed many with his over-stretching of the car’s abilities.

Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Force India F1 VJM01 and Kazuki Nakajima (JPN) Williams FW30 crash at the start of the race. Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Turkish Grand Prix, Race, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Sunday 11 May 2008.  BEST IMAGE

Giancarlo Fisichella and Kazuki Nakajima collide during the 2008 race

Further down the grid, a certain stagnation is expected to occur for the new teams. Lotus have this week decided to focus attention on the design of their 2011 car, with a lesser emphasis on improving their debut attempt, the T127. With Virgin finally being able to fit full-sized fuel tanks into both of their cars, their true pace could become apparent, but don’t expect it to go much further than what the F1 fraternity have been treated to already.

Finally, the status quo remains at Hispania, with no upgrades or improvements due for Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok. The nephew of three-time World Champion Ayrton is still carrying a defective chassis, which could hinder him in the intra-team battle with Chandhok.

With the possible introduction of their version of the airflow stalling F-Duct, Red Bull could prove to be untouchable this weekend. Minor upgrades should see them maintain their significant qualifying advantage, with only reliability or driver error being their competition.

McLaren and Ferrari will be locked in a fierce battle to represent the best of the rest, with Mercedes in close attendance behind them. Also notable this weekend is the seventh opportunity for Pedro de la Rosa to complete a race. The veteran Spaniard is yet to see a chequered flag in 2010, and his attempt to reverse that trend will prove to be an interesting sideshow.

James Rossi Turkish GP Prediction:
1. Vettel 2. Webber 3. Hamilton/Alonso

Round Seven of the 2010 Formula One World Championship takes us to Turkey, for the sixth running of the Turkish Grand Prix. The Istanbul Park Otodrom lies east of the worlds fifth largest city, on the coastal motorway that links Istanbul and the capital, Ankara. Designed by Hermann Tilke, the circuit is an anomaly in the portfolio of the German architect, as there are numerous elevation changes as well as an impressive amalgamation of low, medium and high speed corners. All of which provides us with an interesting Grand Prix to look forward to this coming Sunday.

Rather ominously, it was Red Bull who dominated the streets of Monaco, providing us with irrefutable proof that the RB6 is more than capable around any configuration of circuit. Back-to-back wins for Mark Webber have given him the momentum as we head into the long summer of the Formula One season. However, with news that young German Sebastian Vettel is to be handed a new chassis after a defect was found in the previous one, it can’t be taken for granted that Webber will subconsciously assume the number one status at Red Bull.

The long, sweeping corners that make up a large part of the Istanbul Park track will once again provide Red Bull with an opportunity to further cement their advantage. Due to the reliance on strong aerodynamic downforce around a circuit such as Istanbul Park, all signs point to Red Bull once again being at the top of the pile.

Lewis Hamilton has been quoted as saying that Turkey will suit the McLaren, and to an extent he is correct. In similar circumstances, Hamilton was on course to split the Red Bulls in Barcelona, only to retire with a wheel rim failure within sight of the finish.

The problem in 2010 however, is not whether your car is suited to a particular circuit, but whether your car is suited enough to matching or beating the Red Bull machinery. With the longer wheelbase of the MP4-25, Turkey should indeed match the strengths of the British-based team. A quiet Monaco weekend for Jenson Button that ended in disappointment should translate to a solid result for the Briton this Sunday. The incumbent World Champion knows that he has lost the impetus in the title race and his conservative style could play into his hands on a circuit that tends to hurt tyres more often than not.

In the elite club of the top four, Ferrari will also be knocking at the Red Bull door. A significant upgrade for both front and rear wings will be rolled out on Friday morning in the Italian garage, with the sole aim of recapturing some of the downforce deficit against Red Bull. Fernando Alonso is only three points shy of Mark Webber, which is masking the true performance difference between the two teams at the moment.

The Spaniard will be hoping for reliability issues to strike once more if he is to have any hope of overcoming Vettel and Webber. On the other side of the garage, Felipe Massa will be buoyed by his super record in Turkey, with three wins to his name since 2006. On the other hand, he has the burgeoning thought of Alonso’s continued presence at the back of his mind.

Mercedes have struggled of late, and it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the German-owned team have fundamentally erred in the design of the W01. With a heavier front end, understeer has become a natural characteristic of the car which leads to higher front tyre degradation. It has been well documented that the returning Michael Schumacher has struggled with the car, whilst Nico Rosberg seems to have got to grips with the bulky Mercedes. A raft of upgrades once more from Mercedes should keep them in contention, as well as the introduction of a revised version of the F-Duct. It is however doubtful that any radical introduction for the German manufacturer will be sufficient enough to bring them up to par with the overwhelmingly fast Red Bull, ironically owned by an Austrian.

Renault’s pace in Monaco will prove to be an anomaly, as Robert Kubica took full advantage of a favourable set of characteristics on the R30 to back up the Red Bull duo of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel. Like Mercedes, an aggressive development programme has helped Renault maintain their pace, if not improve it slightly. A faster circuit such as Istanbul Park will be less suited to the traction-enhanced Renault, but it will be interesting to see just how much the talented Pole can ring out of the car. Memories return of Michael Schumacher in 1998, when in a fundamentally inferior Ferrari, he took the fight to the superior McLaren and impressed many with his over-stretching of the car’s abilities.

Further down the grid, a certain stagnation is expected to occur for the new teams. Lotus have this week decided to focus attention on the design of their 2011 car, with a lesser emphasis on improving their debut attempt, the T127. With Virgin finally being able to fit full-sized fuel tanks into both of their cars, their true pace could become apparent, but don’t expect it to go much further than what the F1 fraternity have been treated to already.

Finally, the status quo remains at Hispania, with no upgrades or improvements due for Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok. The nephew of three-time World Champion Ayrton is still carrying a defective chassis, which could hinder him in the intra-team battle with Chandhok.

With the possible introduction of their version of the airflow stalling F-Duct, Red Bull could prove to be untouchable this weekend. Minor upgrades should see them maintain their significant qualifying advantage, with only reliability or driver error being their competition.

McLaren and Ferrari will be locked in a fierce battle to represent the best of the rest, with Mercedes in close attendance behind them. Also notable this weekend is the seventh opportunity for Pedro de la Rosa to complete a race. The veteran Spaniard is yet to see a chequered flag in 2010, and his attempt to reverse that trend will prove to be an interesting sideshow.

Prediction:

1. Vettel 2. Webber 3. Hamilton/Alonso