The weather was sunny, windy and cool as the drivers arrived at the Istanbul Park circuit this Thursday to prepare for the ninth Turkish Grand Prix. As usual, the Scuderia Ferrari duo spent their time taking part in their first meetings with the engineers as well as talking to the press.
The only way is up. Out of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, it was the Spaniard who was met with the most questions, as he will be running a completely new power unit, fitted with the new hybrid system, which means he has to start from the back of the grid. “I’m not too worried about starting with those at the back because I can only go forward from there,” joked the Spaniard. “But seriously, I am pleased that I too will have the hybrid system update, because it means I can help the team gather data useful for next year. Each small improvement helps and I’m ready to drive an attacking race. I will only have to concentrate on working on race set-up and I hope I can get the benefit of that on Sunday.”
Grip. One of the most popular topics for discussion this Thursday was the Instabul Park track surface grip level. “I am keen to get out on the circuit tomorrow to see what the track conditions are like,” said Charles. “Although I think it would be hard for them to be worse than the first session last year. Having said that, I wouldn’t mind if it was a bit slipperier than usual, because I had a lot of fun here in 2020.” Carlos also had some thoughts on last year’s event. “On Friday the grip level was absolutely on the limit and then it rained on Saturday and Sunday. Therefore it’s hard to know how to rate this circuit in terms of enjoyment, but I hope to get a clearer idea this weekend and that it will be positive.”
More Sprint Qualifying? The Monegasque driver was asked if he would like to have more weekends featuring the new Sprint Qualifying format. “Personally, I would be happy, because Friday is only free practice and quite boring, while with this formula, you go into qualifying with just 60 minutes in which to set up the car,” commented Charles. “That’s why I’d be very much in favour of this idea although I do feel the Saturday timetable could be improved.”
Programme. The cars take to the track for the first time tomorrow at 11.30 local (10.30 CET) for the first free practice session, with the second one starting at 15 (14 local). The third session takes place on Saturday morning at 12 (11 CET). With grid positions being decided starting from 15 (14 CET). The Turkish Grand Prix gets underway on Sunday 10 October at 15 (14 CET).