Turkish Grand Prix - driver preview quotes 22 Aug 2007
Theyve all enjoyed the summer break, but equally all are itching to go racing again this weekend, as the 2007 FIA Formula One World Championship enters its final decisive phase.
One reason the drivers are so keen is the venue - the state of the art Istanbul Park circuit in Turkey, a Herman Tilke masterpiece that features one of the most challenging corners on the calendar, the already legendary Turn Eight
Nico Rosberg, Williams
2006 Qualifying - 15th, 2006 Race - DNF
Istanbul is a great track so Im looking forward to driving it again. Im hoping we will have found some more performance over the three week gap which will allow us to stay close to the others and to keep our momentum going into the last races. Its going to be very hot again so itll be a tough race but it will still be easier than Hungary. I have some good memories from last years race in Turkey, I was running in fifth at one point. To have a good race this year and score some more points for the team is what Ill be aiming for.
Alexander Wurz, Williams
2006 Qualifying - NA, 2006 Race - NA
I always look forward to the Turkish Grand Prix because its such a fantastic race track. It is very demanding physically, mainly because of turn eight; a super fast, high G corner which really strains the neck muscles as well as the tyres and the car. I had a great holiday over the three week summer break with my family. I managed to train every day, and I covered lots of kilometres on the bike and while running. I also made sure I did some extra work to strengthen my neck, back and shoulders in preparation for Turkey.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda
2006 Qualifying - 14th, 2006 Race - 8th
I have been very impressed with the Istanbul circuit over the past two years and we have seen some exciting races there. The track is fairly challenging from a drivers' point of view as it runs anti-clockwise which is quite unusual and physically tough, and also the undulations are quite extreme which can make your lap quite exciting. The highlight for most drivers is the high-speed Turn Eight where the triple apex makes it really important to get your line right. The break has been good to recharge and get ready for the final stage of the season but I know that work has been continuing at the factory to push the development of the car. I am confident that we will have a better race weekend in Turkey.
Jenson Button, Honda
2006 Qualifying - 7th, 2006 Race - 4th
The Turkish Grand Prix has quickly become one of my favourite races on the F1 calendar. The track layout is excellent with a challenging combination of long straights, tight hairpins and the very high-speed Turn Eight. The changes in elevation also contribute to making it a fun circuit for the drivers. There are some really good overtaking opportunities at turn one and turn three where I gained a place in the race last year. You also have a chance at passing into Turns Nine and 12. To get a really quick lap around this circuit, you really need to consciously push hard all the way round and use the track's camber to your full advantage. I have had a couple of great races here in the last two years to finish in the top six, and whilst our performance isn't quite there this year, I am expecting an improvement from the last race.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber
2006 Qualifying - 6th, 2006 Race - 14th
Last year, as part of an appearance for our partner Intel, I had my first opportunity to see a bit more of the city. Istanbul with its location on the Bosphorus is fascinating, but the congestion and traffic conditions are chaotic. I will be using a BMW motorbike again to get from the city centre to the race track in a fairly predictable time.
The race in 2006 was disappointing. Sixth place on the grid was good, but I was hit by Giancarlo Fisichella in the first corner and ultimately only just managed to coax a damaged car across the finishing line. The circuit does have overtaking possibilities, which is very good. It has an extremely long straight and there are slow and high-speed corners. Turn Eight is a favourite of mine: it's very fast and difficult.
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber
2006 Qualifying - 9th, 2006 Race - 12th
An amazing circuit - Turn Eight has already staked its claim to fame. Most drivers find this section quite a challenge. It is very long and in fact consists of four different bends. It's great fun as soon as you've got your line sorted out. The circuit can also be pretty vicious, because occasionally you bottom out, lose traction and the car becomes unstable. We weren't particularly fast there in 2006. I hope things will look better in 2007.
Sakon Yamamoto, Spyker
2006 Qualifying - 21st, 2006 Race - DNF
Last year was the first time I had raced in Turkey when I ran with Super Aguri. On Friday I got used to the track and the racing line, then in Qualifying I was in front of Takuma, so it was an amazing result for me at that time as I had just joined the team and it was only my third race in F1. Unfortunately though I made a mistake in turn one after the pit stop and didn't finish. There was a safety car, I pushed and the lap times were really good but in trying to catch up and stay in front of the others, I made a mistake. This time I will try and push but not make a mistake. I made one in Hungary, that's finished now!
Adrian Sutil, Spyker
2006 Qualifying - NA, 2006 Race - NA
This will be the first time I have been to the circuit. As usual I have been studying the data trying to learn the track and doing laps on the PlayStation to try and get the right lines. In the end learning a circuit is not so difficult as there are always come corners that are similar to other tracks you've driven on. I'm looking forward to Turn Eight though - I saw it on the TV last year and it looks really tough. On a quick lap you're going really quick through there, perhaps 260km/h, there's a lot of g-force - it's pretty spectacular.
I don't go to Istanbul with many expectations, but hope that we can continue to have good races like we did in Hungary. We need to race other cars now on a more consistent balance. If we can overtake other cars and race? We'll have to see how it goes, but I hope so, definitely.
Fernando Alonso, McLaren
2006 Qualifying - 3rd, 2006 Race - 2nd
It is always great to have a break and re-charge the batteries, but it is fantastic to be getting back out on track in Turkey. I have a solid points total in the drivers world championship and I am aiming to build on that considerably in Istanbul. We are in a strong position in both championships and there are a lot of points to be won in the final six races. However, we are looking at the races one by one, and my focus is on this Grand Prix and getting the best result possible in Turkey.
I have come second in the two years we have raced here previously and I will be aiming to improve on that this time. The track is great to drive, with some sections that are really on the limit and what you want to race on as a driver, turn eight in particular. It tends to be very hot at this race and this can have an effect on tyre wear. We race anti-clockwise and this also adds to the tyre wear, with the front right higher than at other tracks. The final factor is that the track is one of the fastest circuits on the calendar, with long fast corners, and this is also tough on tyres but we will work with Bridgestone to set the cars up to cope with these characteristics.
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2006 Qualifying - NA, 2006 Race - NA
I have great memories of the Istanbul Park, last year this was a defining race in the GP2 championship for me and I am really looking forward to getting out there with the MP4-22. It is an amazing track to drive, with so many different challenges, and overtaking is possible. The circuit is pretty wide, which always helps when you are trying to pass. Having dropped down to the back of the field after spinning on the second lap last year, I spent the race working my way back up to second, it felt like a win and it would be great to get on the top step this year!
It is a very physically demanding circuit, all the fast corners, such as turn eight which is awesome and flat out, and the heat place a big demand on the drivers. During the short summer break I have been keeping up with my training to ensure I am fully prepared for it. Along with the team, I am very motivated right now. There are six races remaining and I am looking forward to the challenge.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault
2006 Qualifying - 4th, 2006 Race - 6th
Istanbul Park is a new generation circuit, everything is still very new and it is a properly challenging circuit. I have always raced well here in the past, and I hope it will be the case again this year. Turn Eight is probably the most difficult corner in the whole championship - a long-left hander, with an apex speed of around 250 km/h, for about 6.5 seconds. There are some high g-forces to contend with, on your body but especially on the neck, and it can be very difficult, especially at the end of the race. It is demanding for the drivers, but that is the attraction for us!
Heikki Kovalainen, Renault
2006 Qualifying - NA, 2006 Race - NA
I actually drove an F1 car here last year when we did a demonstration run as part of the World Series by Renault race weekend, so I have some idea of how the circuit feels in an F1 car. It is a very tough circuit and I must say, one of my favourites. Everything has been really well thought-out, they did a fantastic job to bring F1 to Turkey and the atmosphere is always special, because the Turkish fans seem to really enjoy the race weekend. I can't wait to race in Istanbul.
There are a number of high-speed corners, and that means we have to focus most of all on the aero balance of the car, because aerodynamic grip is crucial. The surface is still very new, so it's smooth and that makes life a bit easier on the mechanical side, helping keep the car stable. The other important parameter will be getting good traction. These are all areas we will be working on during our three hours of practice on Friday, and I think we can find a good set-up compromise, as we managed at the last race in Budapest.
Felipe Massa, Ferrari
2006 Qualifying - 1st, 2006 Race - 1st
"I am looking forward to Turkey, which will always have a special significance for me, as it was in Istanbul last year that I got my first ever Grand Prix victory. It is still fresh in my mind and it is a great memory and a nice feeling to be carrying back with me to this year's race. It was a great victory for me. I love the track and the city and I really hope to repeat the great result from last year, when I was very strong all weekend, starting from pole position and winning on Sunday. I hope we can do it again.
Istanbul Park is a really great track and everyone talks about Turn Eight, which is definitely one of the best corners of the season. I like this corner, and it is really challenging. To be quick at this point on the track, your entry has to be perfect and then you have to make sure you make no mistakes all the way through the middle and then the exit. It is a tricky corner to get right and it also plays an important part in the race itself as it is very tough physically to go round it quickly on every lap.
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
2006 Qualifying - 8th, 2006 Race - DNF
We are optimistic for Turkey: I won the first race ever held here, which gave me a very special feeling. The track is similar to the one at Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps, where the aerodynamic efficiency counts a lot. And then we drive anti-clockwise: nothing changes in terms of the technics, but the driver's necks will suffer slightly. Everybody is talking about turn number eight: it doesn't have the fascination of the Eau Rouge but is very demanding in it's own way. It is really nice to have new kinds of fast corners to drive through at the max: everybody always wants to have more. I can't wait for Friday morning so that I can drive my laps behind the wheel of my Ferrari!"
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota
2006 Qualifying - 5th, 2006 Race - 7th
Hungary was a very strong weekend for me and the team, with my best qualifying and race results of the season. We looked really competitive and had a good result so I am now looking forward to building on that performance in Turkey. The Istanbul Park is quite unusual for a modern circuit because it features a lot of elevation changes and a varied mix of corners. Its an exciting track to drive. We have shown over the last few races that we have become more competitive and we are moving in the right direction. Our car seems to be reasonably competitive on different kinds of circuits so we are hopeful again for this weekend. It was important for the team to score points in Hungary and now we will aim to do that again in Turkey. I enjoyed the summer break but now I am ready to get back to racing.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota
2006 Qualifying -13th, 2006 Race - 9th
I am looking forward to the Turkish Grand Prix after a relaxing break with my family. In the end it was a disappointing weekend for me in Hungary because we showed a lot of potential in practice and early in qualifying, especially when I was 3rd in Q2, but we did not get the result we hoped for. We need to work hard to improve. The Istanbul track is obviously relatively new and its most unique feature is Turn 8, which is a tough corner. It is a long left-hander made up of three corners which makes it a quick and very challenging part of the track. I am looking forward to the weekend and I hope we can get a decent result because we have shown if everything goes well, our car is capable of scoring points. I am aiming to keep up my good record of qualifying in the top 10 and then hopefully I can score points again.
More to follow.