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Facts and figures - Turkish Grand Prix 23 Aug 2006

Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) McLaren Mercedes MP4/20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Turkish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, 19 August 2005 Red Bull trucks in the pitlane.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Turkish Grand Prix, Preparations, Istanbul Park, Turkey, 17 August 2005 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Turkish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, 19 August 2005 Boats on the Bosphorous.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Turkish Grand Prix, Preparations, Istanbul Park, Turkey, 17 August 2005

It may have only appeared on the calendar once before, but that’s all it took for the Istanbul race to establish itself as a firm favourite among teams, drivers and fans. Here are just a few items of Turkish trivia relating to this weekend’s Grand Prix…

- For the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix in 2005 an all-new, purpose-built circuit in Istanbul was constructed, 5.378 kilometres in length and designed by Hermann Tilke, the famed German architect also responsible for the recently-built tracks in Kuala Lumpur, Bahrain and Shanghai.

- Turkey has yet to produce its first Formula One driver. This time last year, then GP2 runner Can Artam announced plans to become a third driver for 2006. Unfortunately these plans never materialized. The country’s best prospect at the moment looks to be Jason Tahinci. The British-born Turk carried out a demonstration run with Jordan at last year’s inaugural Istanbul event and is currently competing in GP2.

- Istanbul Park is one of only three circuits on the Formula One calendar to run in an anti-clockwise direction - San Marino and Brazil are the other two.

- Istanbul is famously split into a European side and an Asian side, with the Bosphorus strait forming the divide between the two. The Istanbul Park circuit is located on the Asian side of the city.

- 2005’s inaugural Turkish Grand Prix proved very popular, with close to 200,000 fans flocking to Istanbul Park to witness Formula One racing's maiden visit. The paddock was also filled with celebrities, with former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, Bond girl Ursula Andress and Oscar-nominated actor Djimon Hounsou among them.

- The Istanbul Park track features 14 turns - eight lefts and six rights - and the cars reach top speeds of up to 330 km/h. Last year, the corner everyone was talking about Turn 8 - an incredibly challenging three-apex left hander. With this season’s V8 engines producing less power than the 2005 V10s, drivers may just be able to take it flat out this year.

- Istanbul Park is built on four different levels to provide the track’s dramatic gradient changes and enhance the character of the circuit. Over the course of a lap, elevation varies by almost 46 metres.

- Last year’s event saw a clean sweep for McLaren, with Kimi Raikkonen taking pole position and victory, and then team mate Juan Pablo Montoya setting the fastest lap of the race on his way to third place. Renault’s Fernando Alonso clocked the fastest straight-line speed of the weekend, with a best of 329.5 km/h during qualifying.

- The Turkish Grand Prix is the only ‘sail-away’ race on the calendar. To get there, the majority of teams transported their equipment by road to the port of Trieste in northern Italy. From there it travelled on ferries across the Adriatic and Aegean Seas to Istanbul.