A lap of Turkey with Fernando Alonso 15 Aug 2005
Renault's world championship leader describes a simulated lap of the all-new Istanbul Park circuit, venue for this coming weekends inaugural Turkish Grand Prix.
For a map of the track, click here.
As with any new circuit, the engineers have been working for several months now to simulate the track layout in Turkey. They have worked out predicted grip levels and the dimensions of the circuit in order to simulate a lap as closely as possible, which will allow us to calculate starting set-ups, cooling levels and already inform our tyre choice. What we know already is that Istanbul will be a demanding circuit for the tyres, as we expect some of the highest track temperatures of the season, and for the brakes, with at least six stops from near or over 300 kph to second gear. This is how the engineers expect a lap to be driven
We will cross the start and finish line in sixth gear, at 300 kph on a flying lap - and it is actually positioned quite close to the first corner. We will touch 320 kph before braking heavily for the T1/T2 sequence, which comprises a tight left hander followed by a progressively opening right. The left hander is taken in 3rd gear at around 160 kph, and we will then be back on the power as soon as possible as we take 2, lifting only briefly to apex at around 220 kph.
The run to T3 curves gently right, and we will once again hit 320 kph before braking heavily for the next sequence of three corners. The first corner, the left-hander of T3, is actually the quickest of these, taken at 165 kph in 3rd gear, and we will have to compromise the exit slightly, sticking to the left of the circuit to get the correct line for T4. We downshift once for the right hander, taking it at 120 kph before a short burst of acceleration to 3rd gear, then braking again for the tight double-apex lefts of T5 and T6. These will be treated as one corner, with T5 taken at 120 kph before T6 under full acceleration. Like T2, the exit of this corner opens out, and we will have to be on the power as soon as possible, with a stable rear end, to maximise our speed on the run to T7. This type of corner also puts the rear tyres under real strain, as they are subjected to high lateral loads as well as the acceleration forces.
The track runs downhill slightly on the way to T7 - and we will touch 300 kph before braking to 2nd gear for the right hand hairpin, which is taken at 115 kph. Once again, the corner opens out on exit, and leads us into the most interesting corner on the circuit - T8. This long left hander will be particularly tough for the right front tyre, as it comprises four different apices, taken at approximately 175 kph in third and fourth gears. Once again, a clean exit will be important as any mistakes could open the door for cars behind into T9.
The sequence of T9/T10 will be treated like a chicane - we brake from 320 kph in sixth gear to 115 kph for T9, the left-hander, before then accelerating through T10 without lifting at approximately 200 kph. A good exit from T9 and the correct line through T10 will be crucial as they lead onto the circuit's longest straight - and its most obvious passing opportunity. The right-hand kink of T11 is taken flat out in sixth gear at 310 kph, and competitors will have a good opportunity to overtake on the brakes into T12.
We will hit a maximum speed of around 330 kph before braking for the slowest corner on the circuit, T12, taken at just 95 kph in second gear. We may see some interesting manoeuvres into the corner, because it is immediately followed by a slow right-hander at T13 - meaning a driver on the outside through the hairpin will have the ideal line in T13. That could mean we see cars battling side by side through these corners.
T13 will be taken at 110 kph, and we will then look to position the cars on the right-hand side of the circuit to get the best possible line through T14 - and onto the start/finish straight The final corner will be taken in 2nd gear, at approximately 115 kph, before accelerating hard down the main straight and towards another lap. In total, we expect this to take us around 1m 25.000s.