Turn Eight - Mercedes on Istanbul Parks test of grit 03 May 2011
When it comes to the great corners of Formula One racing, tradition generally holds sway. Eau Rouge at Spa-Francorchamps, Copse at Silverstone and Monacos Casino Square are legendary names in the sport's history. Istanbul Parks Turn Eight may have a little less mystique than its more historic counterparts, but the longest corner of the season is worthy of the reputation it has acquired since the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix in 2005. Turning left through approximately 200 degrees, this 640 metre-long corner has established itself as a firm favourite among Formula One drivers. Mercedes explain more
Q: Turn Eight is the longest corner of the season. What are the key facts?
A: Turn Eight is 640m long, which equates to 12 percent of the total lap distance of 5.338 kilometres. The corner lasts for 8.5 seconds, which is equivalent to 10 percent of the current lap record of 1m 24.770s set in 2005. Drivers generally take three apexes, the slowest of which is at 260 km/h, with an average corner speed of 270 km/h.
Q: How does this compare to the other longest and fastest corners of the season?
A: Turn Eight presents a unique combination of very high speeds and sustained load. In terms of time spent in the corner, the cornering phase through Turns One and Two at Chinas Shanghai International Circuit totals 8.7s - which exceeds Turn Eight - but during deceleration rather than at sustained high speed. The Parabolica at Monza lasts for 7.6s, and Turn Three at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya for 7.4s. In terms of speed, comparable corners are the 130R at Japanese circuit Suzuka (3.7s, 315m) and Copse at Silverstone (3s, 240m) - both have a duration of less than half that of Turn Eight. In terms of distance, the season's next longest corners are Monzas Parabolica (470m) and Pouhon at Spa-Francorchamps (460m) - both are over 25 percent shorter than Turn Eight.
Q: What g-forces do the drivers experience in Turn Eight?
A: The peak g-force is 5G, while a level of 4.5g is sustained for two seconds. The average g-force in the corner is 3.5g.
Q: What demands does this place on the tyres?
A: Turn Eight is the most demanding corner of the season in terms of tyre energy. Although it represents just 12 percent of the total lap distance, this corner alone accounts for approximately 40 percent of the total tyre energy during the lap at Istanbul Park. Of the car's four corners, the right-hand front tyre is worked hardest.
Q: What loadings are the cars subjected to in the corner?
A: The peak suspension loadings through the corner are over 10,000N - equivalent to a force of 1,000 kilogrammes, or over 150 percent of the total car weight. The average loading on the right-hand front is 7,000N. The corner also imposes vertical g-forces owing to the bumpy surface between the first and second apexes: the variation between +0.5g and -0.8g feels harsh to the drivers.
Q: How does car set-up take account of the corner?
A: Car set-up must take this corner into specific consideration, notably in terms of tyre camber settings and ride heights, particularly at the rear of the car.
Q: What do the drivers think of the corner?
A: For seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, the corner is "not particularly difficult to drive but one of the season's longest and pretty fast." Performance in the corner is car-dependent: "It's very heavy on the tyres, and the way you drive the corner largely depends on the car and how you have set it up, added Schumacher. That compromise might make it tricky, so we need to wait and see how it goes." In contrast, Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg finds it "one of the most challenging corners of the year" owing to the high speed and prolonged G-loadings. "If I had to create a fantasy Formula One circuit, this corner would definitely be included!" concluded the German.
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