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Turkish Grand Prix - driver preview quotes 23 Aug 2006

Ralf Schumacher (GER) Toyota.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, British Grand Prix, Practice Day, Silverstone, England, 9 June 2006 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 1 April 2006 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, European Grand Prix, Practice Day, Nurburgring, Germany, 5 May 2006 Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, European Grand Prix, Practice Day, Nurburgring, Germany, 5 May 2006

They’ve enjoyed the break, but now it’s time to get back to business. The Formula One drivers return to the cockpit this weekend for the second running of the Turkish Grand Prix, staged at one of the most thrilling venues on the calendar, Istanbul Park…

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota
2005 Qualifying - 9th, 2005 Race - 12th

"The Istanbul Park is an exciting, challenging circuit and something completely different to what we have seen with many modern tracks. There is a good mix of corners and the hills are unusual on today's calendar. The track surface is very smooth, there are big run-off areas and the facilities are good too. We should go to Turkey looking to come away with a good finish. We've continued to improve our performance as the season has gone on and apart from the problems we suffered in Hungary we have been fast at the last few races. We haven't brought home as many good results as we would have liked but the trend is clearly on its way up. The team has turned our situation around and it's a very good job that they have done. Now we have to build on that and come away with more points over the last few races."

Jarno Trulli, Toyota
2005 Qualifying - 5th, 2005 Race - 6th

"Toyota has made big steps forward in recent races and Bridgestone have also done a good job with the tyres. We could have achieved more in terms of results so we need to keep pushing for reliability. But our pace has improved thanks to the hard work of our technical team so I'm confident that we do well in Turkey. Lots of drivers were really impressed with the Istanbul Park circuit but it's not among my personal favourites. It is not the most difficult track we race on and it has only one really hard corner. That is a long left-hander which combines three corners together and is taken nearly flat in fourth or fifth gear. It is a quick and very challenging set of corners. The rest of the lap is relatively simple - although it runs anti-clockwise so the pressures on the neck are the opposite from usual. With all the progress we have made and another step due for Turkey we should aim to bring home another strong result on Sunday."

Mark Webber, Williams
2005 Qualifying - 7th, 2005 Race - DNF

“I’m certainly looking forward to getting back in the car after the break and it’s good to be resuming the season in Turkey as last year’s inaugural Grand Prix was a great hit with fans and drivers alike. It’s a track that provides a good challenge for the driver as it has a great mixture of straights, corners, crests and hills. Istanbul is also a fantastic city to spend a few days in prior to the race and hopefully I will be able to explore some more of the historic sites. Last year, we visited the World War I graves at Gallipoli, which was a very moving experience.

“It’s hard to predict how competitive we’ll be next weekend but I hope we’ll have an uneventful raceday so we can demonstrate our potential to run strongly towards the front. Obviously there hasn’t been any testing during the break, but the boys at the factory have been working hard so we should be well prepared as we head into the final part of the season.”

Nico Rosberg, Williams
2005 Qualifying - NA, 2005 Race - NA

“I hope things will change for the team because luck just hasn’t been on our side recently. Our car has definitely shown progress in recent races, particularly in Magny-Cours and at Hockenheim where we really made some good steps forward, so I hope this carries through. We haven’t been able to test before Turkey but I know the guys in the factory have been working really hard. I’ve had a great break between the two races, catching up with friends and just relaxing. As for Turkey, it’s a great track. I did ok there last year in GP2, my car broke while I was in the lead in the first race but I then came from last through to 3rd despite the rain in the 2nd race. Overall, I just hope we have a good race this weekend because everyone deserves it.”

Rubens Barrichello, Honda
2005 Qualifying - 11th, 2005 Race - 10th

"It was good to visit Turkey for the first time last year. The circuit is fantastic and I was really impressed by the facilities and the layout. The undulations of the track make it very exciting and challenging from a driver's viewpoint and there are some good overtaking opportunities. It is also quite tough physically and we're expecting the race to be run in hot temperatures so it was important to keep training between the races, although the break has been good to recharge and get ready for this weekend. We showed a real improvement in Germany and Hungary so although we have done no testing prior to this race, we will be hoping to carry this performance forward to Turkey."

Jenson Button, Honda
2005 Qualifying - 13th, 2005 Race - 5th

"It feels like it's been a complete whirlwind since our first win together two weeks ago but now that I've had the chance to celebrate properly and a week or so of rest and relaxation, I'm ready to get back in the car again and make the most of the remaining five races. There have been some very special moments over the past couple of weeks and I'll remember those for ever but it's time now to crack on with the Turkish Grand Prix and the rest of the season. In Hungary, everything came together for us when it counted and it has given the whole team renewed motivation. We never doubted our potential but now we know we are winners. There are likely to be challenging times again over the coming races but our car is well-suited to the Istanbul Park Circuit and we are capable of a good result there. I really enjoyed the circuit last year and had a good race so I'm looking forward to the weekend."

Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber
2005 Qualifying - 6th, 2005 Race - DNF

“The Turkish Grand Prix brings to mind first and foremost the traffic chaos you have to battle your way through to get from the circuit into town and vice-versa. Last year I hired a mobile home to be able to sleep at the track, although the city of Istanbul is really beautiful and has a lot of attractions.

“It is possible to overtake on the new track, which is positive. It has a really long straight and a very fast and difficult corner with several apexes. That’s turn 8, which I’m really looking forward to. From slow to high-speed turns, Istanbul has everything. My third place in Hungary was a brilliant result for our young team. I hope we get some good results in Istanbul as well.”

Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber
2005 Qualifying - NA, 2005 Race - NA

“Of course I am very much looking forward to my second Formula One race. After the Hungarian Grand Prix I was not too happy about my driving because I made some mistakes. But on the other hand I saw under these conditions others made mistakes too, and I was also able to show some good driving. However, I learnt a lot in Hungary and this will help for the next grand prix. I have never raced in Istanbul; actually, I have never been to Istanbul at all. I watched last year’s race on TV and I appreciated the layout of the track that provides overtaking opportunities, which always make for good racing.

“I have the impression that in Turkey the interest in F1 is increasing, as is the case in Poland now. Things change as soon as people have a relation to the sport - either due to a Grand Prix or a driver."

Tiago Monteiro, Midland
2005 Qualifying - 14th, 2005 Race - 15th

"Istanbul levels the playing field a bit between all the drivers in Formula One, because it's still relatively new. It's a fantastic circuit - definitely my kind of track - and the only place where I have as much experience as any of the older drivers. I had a reasonable race here last year and enjoy the city, as well, so I'm looking forward to a good weekend. I've had a good break since Hungary, and taking part in the street demonstration in Rotterdam was a fantastic way to gear back up for racing. The team has been busy working on developments to the car, so I am keen to get back on the track and see what we can do."

Christijan Albers, Midland
2005 Qualifying - 15th, 2005 Race - DNF

"I've had a pretty busy break since Hungary but the highlight was definitely the Bavaria City Racing event in Rotterdam! It was amazing to take the M16 around the city streets and to drive in front of so many of my fans. There was a great atmosphere in the city and the team put on such a fantastic show. The rest of the time I spent working on my fitness and preparing for the remaining five races of the season, which will include some very challenging circuits. Istanbul will be a good place to match ourselves to our rivals and I hope that our developments will have further improved our position."

Giorgio Mondini, third driver, Midland
2005 Qualifying - NA, 2005 Race - NA

"It will be good to get back in the car, as I haven`t filled the Friday driver role since Indianapolis. Istanbul is a new track, so I won`t feel too disadvantaged having to learn the circuit. There are some technical sections and a variety of gradients to handle, but I feel I am up to the challenge. The team still has a lot to learn about the set-up required there, so the Friday role will be as important as ever. As usual, I`m really looking forward to it."

Takuma Sato, Super Aguri
2005 Qualifying - 20th, 2005 Race - 9th

“I stayed in Europe for the summer break - chilling and enjoying spending time with my family. I am extremely excited about the Turkish Grand Prix because we will have a further aero update for the SA06 to complete our new car package. We have not been able to test the car during the break so we shall have to see how it performs when we reach Turkey this week. Istanbul Park is one of the most interesting circuits on the F1 calendar because it has got a unique layout - long, high-speed corners; a challenging technical section and an undulating track with good overtaking opportunity . The new car package should improve our performance through the medium to high-speed corners which require efficient aero dynamics, so I am very much looking forward to challenge at the Turkish Grand Prix.”

Sakon Yamamoto, Super Aguri
2005 Qualifying - NA, 2005 Race - NA

“During the break I returned to Japan and relaxed with my family and friends. I am excited by the prospect of driving the SA06 with the new aero package. When the rear suspension and gearbox package was introduced in Germany I could really feel the difference. I am confident the new additions will also be a big improvement. It is the first time I will visit Turkey and I will prepare for the race carefully. I look forward to meeting Turkish F1 fans and experiencing the culture.”

Fernando Alonso, Renault
2005 Qualifying - 3rd, 2005 Race - 2nd

“Istanbul Park is a very wide, modern circuit and there are plenty of overtaking opportunities. Parts of it are like a classic circuit such as Spa. It features some special corners as well, which are blind when you go into them, so it's quite different to what we normally find on a new track. And of course, there is turn 8, which is a very long left-hander where we will probably be flat out with the V8 this year, with lateral loadings of 4G. It's a fun circuit, and this will be one of the season's important races. This type of circuit suits our car, and Michelin will bring good tyres. So we need to concentrate on our job, put the package together and make no mistakes. Then let's see what the race brings!”

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault
2005 Qualifying - 2nd, 2005 Race - 4th

“I like Istanbul Park a lot to be honest. It is one of the new generation circuits, and I felt comfortable straight away last year when I started running there. I started from the front row as well, and the car felt pretty good. I am confident we can be competitive in Turkey this year. There are some good corners and turn 8 is certainly the hardest on the whole circuit. It's a very long left-hander that we take at nearly 250 km/h. We have between 4 and 4.5G on our bodies for about 7 seconds - which means that your neck is hurting by the end of the race! So you need good physical preparation for this race, maybe even more than the last few races.”

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren
2005 Qualifying - 1st, 2005 Race - 1st

“Although it is great for the team to have the short break, I am looking forward to getting back to racing, particularly as we are in Turkey this time out. The Istanbul Speed Park is a terrific circuit, it is demanding on the cars, but great fun to drive, with lots of different types of corner, some straights and elevation changes. All the ups and downs of the track don’t really affect the set up; they just make it more interesting to drive. There are some chances to overtake, a couple of examples are into the first corner, which I found to my cost last year, and along the long stretch that takes you into the low speed turn 12. The corner that everyone was talking about after last year’s race was the double apex left of 7/8. I think it was bumpier than we expected, and because it is such a long, fast corner if you don’t get the line exactly right or lift or accelerate at the wrong moment you will get bounced off the circuit. We exit the turn flat out at 310km/h, and it is vital to have been able to get to this speed as it takes you onto one of the short straights at the back of the track. I took the maiden pole and victory at the Istanbul Speed Park last year, and it would be fantastic to repeat it in 2006. The car again felt strong in Hungary and we had good pace, so we will all be pushing hard towards this.”

Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren
2005 Qualifying - NA, 2005 Race - NA

“I cannot wait to race at the Istanbul Speed Park, it is a fantastic track, I had a lot of fun driving it in my role as Friday driver last year. It is however quite precise from a set-up perspective, although this year we of course have data about the track before we arrive. It was awesome to get the podium at the Hungaroring and my aim is now of course to get one step higher. Along with Imola and Interlagos, the track runs anticlockwise and another key factor is the bumps. These have an influence on set-up, mostly for aero, and as a result we will run with less front wing than at tracks with a smoother characteristic such as Magny-Cours. However a compromise has to be found, because we also want a lot of front end for turn 8 in particular, as it is such a long corner onto a straight, and you need the speed, but if you have too much the car will pick up over the bumps and throw the back of the car out.”

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari
2005 Qualifying - 19th, 2005 Race - DNF

"I think things are looking good. We recall well how Magny-Cours was demanding and how at Hockenheim we dominated. There was also the race at the Hungaroring where, leaving aside the weather, things went our way (though the race showed how decisive a role the weather can play). Overall, it is tough to predict the relative strength of the teams as they alter according to the track. I think that we should be competitive at the weekend. After all, our potential is as high as ever."