Formula 1 fires up its engines for round 16 of the season at the Istanbul Park circuit on the outskirts of the Asian side of the Turkish city. The circuit is 5.338 kilometres long and features 14 corners, six to the right and eight to the left. This venue dropped off the Formula 1 scene after 2011, hosting a Grand Prix again in 2020, after the Covid-19 pandemic turned the calendar on its head and it is back this year.
Key points. Istanbul Park is a favourite with the drivers as it features several changes of gradient and boasts several demanding corners. Among the most interesting is the first one, which plunges steeply downhill to the left immediately after the start-finish straight and the infamous turn 8, with its four apexes. This section is tricky for the drivers, spectacular for spectators and very hard on the tyres that, at one point, are under load for around six seconds. There are two DRS zones: one on the main straight and the other on the back one, just before turn 11 to 12. The race runs over 58 laps, equivalent to 309.396 km. Last year, grip levels were particularly low, but for this year’s race the track has been resurfaced.
Carlos’ turn. As was the case for Charles Leclerc in Russia, in Turkey Carlos Sainz will take a completely new power unit fitted with the new hybrid system. Therefore he will start from the back of the grid with the aim of climbing up the order to try and score some points.
Team Principal from Maranello. Mattia Binotto will not attend the Turkish Grand Prix, but as was the case several times last year, the Team Principal will be based in the Maranello factory to focus on development of next year’s car. He will of course follow all sessions and the race from the Remote Garage, with a permanent link to the team at Istanbul Park.
Programme. The cars take to the track for the first time on Friday at 11.30 local (10.30 CET) for the first free practice session, with the second one starting at 15 (14 CET). The third session takes place on Saturday morning at 12 (11 CET) with the grid being decided in qualifying beginning at 15 (14 CET). The ninth Turkish Grand Prix gets underway on Sunday 10 October at 15 (14 CET).
GP entered 1023
Seasons in F1 72
Debut Monaco 1950 (A. Ascari 2nd; R. Sommer 4th; L. Villoresi ret.)
Wins 238 (23.26%)
Pole positions 230 (22.48%)
Fastest laps 254 (24.83%)
Total podiums 777 (25.32%)
Ferrari Stats Turkish GP
GP entered 8
Debut 2005 (R. Barrichello 10th; M. Schumacher ret.)
Wins 3 (37.5%)
Pole positions 3 (37.5%)
Fastest laps 3 (37.5%)
Total podiums 8 (33.33%)
Turkish Grand Prix: facts & figures
6. The furthest back on the starting grid from which the Turkish Grand Prix has been won. Lewis Hamilton did it last year. On the other seven occasions, it was always won by a driver off the front row. The biggest climb up the order also came in 2020, when Sebastian Vettel in the SF1000 started eleventh and finished third, the German thus recording his 55th and final podium with Scuderia Ferrari.
29. The average number of overtaking moves in the Turkish Grand Prix. The busiest race was in 2011 with no fewer than 79 changes of position, while last year there were 32. The lowest number was nine in 2009.
160. The number of laps Scuderia Ferrari has led at Istanbul Park. It’s the most of any team, with Red Bull second on 97 and McLaren third with 93. No fewer than 151 of those Ferrari laps were completed by Felipe Massa, something of a specialist at this track, with three consecutive wins from 2006 to 2008.
1300. The average number of cups of tea drunk per head of population in Turkey per year, equivalent to around three kilogrammes of tea leaves per person. It is the most popular drink in the country, often even offered to customers in shops, served in small glass cups.
8372. The perimeter of Turkey in kilometres. The country, straddling Europe and Asia is mainly surrounded by water in the form of the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black seas, which makes for a total coastline of 6077 km. The rest of Turkey is bordered by Greece, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq and Syria.
This week in our history
6/10. In 1918, Max De Terra was born in Zurich. The Swiss driver cannot be considered a champion, but he played his part in Ferrari’s history. He was one of the founders of Ecurie Espadon, along with fellow countrymen Peter Hirt and Rudolph Fischer. The team was one of the Maranello marque’s first customers along with Peter Whitehead. At the wheel of the 500 F2, Fischer got some great results such as third in the Swiss and German Grands Prix in 1952.
7/10. In 2007, the Chinese Grand Prix was held at the Shanghai International Circuit. Kimi Räikkönen won in a Ferrari F2007, making the most of a mistake from title rival Lewis Hamilton. The McLaren driver went off at the entrance to the pit lane and his race ended there in the gravel trap. Kimi was thus back in the title fight, with Hamilton on 107 points, his team-mate Fernando Alonso on 103 and the Finn on 100. The final thriller in Brazil would see Kimi turn things around to take the title.
8/10. In 2000, Suzuka hosted the penultimate round of the season, the Japanese GP. The race produced a great head-to-head between Michael Schumacher in the Ferrari and Finland’s Mika Häkkinen in the McLaren, the latter taking the lead off the line. The positions remained unchanged even after the first pit stops. Then on lap 37, the McLaren came in for its second refuelling and tyre change. Schumacher had enough fuel to stay out for a further three laps, during which he set a blistering pace which saw him emerge from the pits ahead of his rival. The Finn tailed the German to the line, but could not pass. Michael Schumacher was thus world champion for the third time, but it was his first with Scuderia, for whom this was its first Drivers’ title, since Jody Scheckter took the crown in 1979. It was only seven in the morning in Italy, but in Maranello it looked like the rush hour. All the fans celebrated and the church bells rang out and the day dawned red, Ferrari red.
9/10. In 2017, celebrations for Ferrari’s 70th anniversary came to an end at the New York Stock Exchange. Over the weekend, some of the Maranello marque’s most important road cars were on display at several points in the city, as well as of course in front of the famous NYSE building.
10/10. In 2004, Michael Schumacher won the Japanese Grand Prix, the penultimate race of the season. Ferrari’s car that year was the amazing F2004 for which this was win number 15, thus equalling the record set by the McLaren MP4/4 in 1988 and the Ferrari F2002 in 2002. It was Scuderia Ferrari’s 182nd win, while for the German, who had already clinched the Drivers’ crown in Belgium back in August, it was his 64th.