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Turkey preview quotes - Lotus, Virgin, Force India, HRT & more 27 May 2010

Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Lotus. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 13 May 2010 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Race, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Sunday, 16 May 2010 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Qualifying Day, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 15 May 2010 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Race, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Sunday, 16 May 2010 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Qualifying Day, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 15 May 2010

Monte Carlo is a tough act to follow, but Istanbul Park, which will host the Turkish Grand Prix, is more than up to the task. A state-of-the-art facility, which features one of the most challenging corners on the calendar, the already legendary Turn Eight, an unusual anti-clockwise layout and plenty of gradients, it’s a real challenge. And it’s no wonder the drivers - and team personnel - can’t wait to get started on the 5.378 kilometre track…

Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus
2009 Qualifying - 14th, 2009 Race - 14th

“It’s good to be back in Turkey, the weather is usually nice here and it seems the same this weekend. Turkey itself is really cool - Istanbul is a huge city with some great places to go. The harbour area is nice and it’s good to try and take some time and have a look around there in the evening - I’m staying on the Asian side this weekend, so I’m not sure I’ll get much time off, but it’s still good to be here. The track is great - it’s a big circuit and we get back to a normal open race course after Monaco. We’re fully prepared and I’m looking forward to practice tomorrow to see what the new wing gives us, and where we are after seeing such good pace in the car in Monaco.”

Jarno Trulli, Lotus
2009 Qualifying - 5th, 2009 Race - 4th

“The track in Turkey is good - Turn Eight is challenging but the rest of it is relatively simple, and definitely not as tricky as Monaco! I’m looking forward to getting out on track and having some better luck this weekend. My confidence in the car is growing all the time so I hope a bit of luck and the updates we’ve put on here will help me have a better race this weekend.”

Dieter Gass, Lotus sporting director
“Looking back on the year so far I think we can be extremely satisfied with what we have achieved. We’ve completed all the targets we set out at the beginning of the season, and from the first time we started testing we have been reliable, which is a testament to the hard work put in by everyone in the team, and our partners. But now we are working on making the car quicker and improving the gap to the established teams - we are getting there, and this weekend, and at Silverstone, we’re looking to take more steps forward. Turkey is a track the drivers like as it presents a good challenge - some high and low speed corners, and the famous triple apex Turn Eight all test the balance of the car, and the aero performance. It’s always a challenge for the engineers and the drivers to set up the car so it’s going to be an interesting weekend here - we have very experienced people throughout the team, so I’m confident we’ll put on a good show. I wouldn’t say Istanbul Park either suits, or doesn’t suit our car, and I think we’ll be pretty much where we were in Barcelona, but with we are looking to take another step forward with the next batch of updates on the car."

Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer
“Looking back on Spain and Monaco we’ve taken a good step forward in those races and here in Turkey we’re looking to keep on improving and racing the cars in front, not those behind. We’ll be using our new pillar mounted rear wing here, and have some new parts which will enable us to optimise the weight distribution, so again, I’m quietly confident we’ll bridge the gap to those in front that little bit more.”

Timo Glock, Virgin
2009 Qualifying - 13th, 2009 Race - 8th

“The race in Monaco was disappointing for myself and the whole team, so I’m hoping we can get back to the more positive experience we all enjoyed before it in Spain. I really like the Istanbul Park Circuit. It’s a track that really tests you as a driver. There are a lot of talking points around the circuit but the one that gets every driver excited here is Turn Eight, the triple apex, which is a lot of fun. The cars and drivers pull up to 5G for seven seconds through this left-hander, making it one of the most physical racing corners in the world. One of the other key parts of the track is the slow left-right-left at the end of the lap that leads the cars back into the pits. At the braking point the cars slow from around 300 km/h down to 80 km/h, which makes it the best overtaking point on the lap. All in all, one of my favourite tracks and I’m looking forward to racing there.”

Lucas di Grassi, Virgin
2009 Qualifying - n/a, 2009 Race - n/a

“I’m really looking forward to racing in Turkey with the revised chassis and the new updates. It has been difficult over the past two races because your best benchmark is always your own team-mate in the same equipment and I haven’t been able to make that comparison. It has also been difficult for the team running two different cars. I’ve spent a lot of time in the Simulators since Monaco to prepare myself for running with the new car and for the challenge of the Istanbul Park Circuit. I’ve raced here twice before in GP2 and I won both times, so I really like the track. Although we left Monaco empty-handed, we know what we can achieve when things go well. A lot of work has been done back in Bicester and Dinnington over the past week, so I hope we all get to see some reward for those efforts.”

John Booth, Virgin team principal
“The past week since Monaco presented yet another logistical challenge for Virgin Racing. While two of our trucks, our equipment and motorhome were dispatched directly to Istanbul after the last race, one truck returned to Dinnington with Lucas’ chassis VR-01: 01 so that we could carry out the modifications to his car. Finally, with effect from Turkey, we will be operating and racing two identical cars, which is one of our biggest headaches alleviated. When viewed across the whole of the race weekend, both the Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix were two very productive events for us. Unfortunately, the outcome of the two races couldn’t have been more different, our first two-car finish in stark contrast to the bitter blow of two DNFs in Monaco. So we head to Turkey determined to rediscover our Barcelona form and the objective once again is to get both cars to the chequered flag.”

Nick Wirth, Virgin technical director
“The Turkish Grand Prix will be the first time since Shanghai that we have been able to get both drivers into the revised car, and all of the engineering staff are looking forward to using data from both running programmes to get the car dialed in to this tremendous track. Watching some of F1’s top teams struggle through the famous and bumpy Turn Eight last year certainly inspired some of the development direction of the VR-01, and we’re looking forward to the challenge that this track represents. We’ve addressed the issues which prevented us finishing Monaco plus we’ve brought further revisions to both the aero and mechanical package of the cars, so we are keen to see what we can achieve this weekend.”

Adrian Sutil, Force India
2009 Qualifying - 15th, 2009 Race - 17th

“In Turkey we have some new developments we are aiming to test and then introduce for the race, including changes to the front wing and to the mirrors to optimise the position used for the first time in China. We’ve seen in previous races that the top teams aren’t going for major upgrade packages, they are drip feeding improvements, and that’s why it’s so important to keep these steps coming through. I’m feeling very positive about this race. I’ve gone well in Turkey before, getting into Q2 when we didn’t expect it last year. It’s a balance of high speed corners and technical sections, but it’s a real rollercoaster and turn eight is awesome. This year it’s going to be impressive, you could take it flat out. I think it should be a good track for us as we’re still fast on the straights but the car feels balanced through the corners as well, and you need good traction at this circuit. I hope to pick up some more points at this race to close that gap to Renault.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India
2009 Qualifying - n/a, 2009 Race - n/a

“I really like the circuit, it’s really fast with the type of corners I like, and gives a lot of adrenaline each lap. The most important aspect is to find the right set up and balance from the start, particularly with the super hard tyres we have this year. It’s always difficult to find the right set up and if it’s colder we could have some issues, but we are positive overall. We should have some new updates on the car as well that should move us forward to our competitors. The target is to get into Q3 and then score points. From the team’s perspective we need to try to bring both cars into the points at the end of the race. We deserved to have a double points finish earlier than Monaco, but for some reasons it didn’t happen, so we need to continue to put both cars the top 10 if we want to catch Renault.”

Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal
“Off the back of the Monaco result both Adrian and Tonio are very positive about Turkey. Tonio in particular needed the result in Monaco, as after a couple of difficult weekends his confidence had taken a bit of a knock. But he came back really strongly and got some more points on board, which is exactly what he and the team needs right now. We also have some new upgrades coming for Turkey, so with the result of Monaco and these developments I would like to see a similar level of performance and ultimately results.”

Bruno Senna, HRT
2009 Qualifying - n/a, 2009 Race - n/a

“I have driven on two occasions in Turkey. This experience gave me a fairly reasonable idea of the difficulties. It will be a tough weekend with an interesting combination of bumps and high-speed corners that will make it challenging for our car. But this level of difficulty makes it interesting and we will go for it as we need another good two-car finish to improve our championship classification.”

Karun Chandhok, HRT
2009 Qualifying - n/a, 2009 Race - n/a

“I am looking forward to racing in Istanbul after our strong showing in Monaco. It is a shame it had to end the way it did but the team can be very proud as we did a good job there. Turkey will be a completely different challenge to Monaco. I have gone well in Istanbul over the last couple of years in GP2 and was also leading the race in 2007 before I was forced to retire. There is a good balance of corners here, especially Turn Eight, which is quite a challenge and very long and fast with the triple apex. Taking care of the tyres on the high-speed corners will be crucial to the outcome of the race. The team are definitely encouraged after Monaco and we will continue to do our best to get the best possible result.”

Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
“Even if our drivers have driven already on the track, it will be the first time for our team in Turkey, where we expect to run with a high-downforce configuration. It is so different from Monaco and much wider here. With its mix of slow, medium and fast corners, we hope to get closer to the other teams, even if this makes it another tough race on the cars and drivers.”

Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone director of motorsport tyre development
"Istanbul Park has caused us problems in the past so it is a circuit where we pay particular attention to every aspect of our preparation. We have reviewed the tyre strength and durability of our tyres so far this season and we have seen no problems, even though the latest cars are both heavier and faster than previously. Turn Eight is the hardest corner we face during the course of the season, however this is not the only part of the track which is a challenge. The left-right-left of Turns 12-14 are the lowest speed areas of the track and come straight after the highest-speed straight. This combination is a breeding ground for tyre graining, so competitors will have to pay particular attention here to minimise this, especially early in the race weekend when the circuit is dirtier and has less rubber on it."

Cosworth, engine suppliers to Williams, Lotus, Virgin & HRT
“Istanbul Park has established itself as a firm driver favourite, mainly as a result of the now infamous multi-apex turn 8 which is arguably one of the most challenging corners of any race track on the Formula One calendar.

“Cosworth power has been used at two of the five Turkish GPs to have been staged with a double points finish for Cosworth-powered cars in the inaugural event back in 2005. The circuit demands have not dissipated over time. It remains one of the most varied tracks with high-speed sections, including turn 8, and slow-speed parts like turn 12 which is the best overtaking opportunity. Unlike Monaco, where bottom end performance was critical, Turkey will give the engine a full workout, requiring effective power delivery from the bottom end of the rev range right up to peak power output.

“Drivers will need a consistent response from the engine at high speed as they negotiate turn 8, but will equally need good traction exiting turn 12 to navigate the slow final section of the lap - particularly if trying to make an overtaking manoeuvre stick. The circuit is situated at 125m above sea level and has almost 46m of elevation changes over the 5.338km lap, putting the engine under even greater stress.

“While the circuit poses set-up dilemmas for the engineers, the anti-clockwise nature of the Istanbul Park will also give drivers additional physical challenges. It is one of just five tracks of the year to run anti-clockwise, so drivers will be forced to acclimatise quickly to the extra strain on the left-hand side of their neck."

Rubens Barrichello, Williams
2009 Qualifying - 3rd, 2009 Race - DNF

“Returning from Monaco with a DNF for both cars was very disappointing for the team, particularly as we now know the cause of my accident. I know everyone has been working hard in the factory, so we are all looking to have a much better race in Turkey. Istanbul is a favourite track of mine. It has a good layout; the corners all flow nicely into each other and that makes it a smooth lap to drive. Because the circuit runs anti-clockwise, the lefthanders can be quite a challenge on your neck muscles but we all do extra training to compensate for that. Personally Turn Eight, a high speed, triple apexer, is the best part of the track as it's a real test.”

Nico Hulkenberg, Williams
2009 Qualifying - n/a, 2009 Race - n/a

“Turkey is a real about turn after Monaco; everything is pretty much the complete opposite. The track goes in an anti-clockwise direction, it has lots of long straights and quick corners so you can get into a nice rhythm around the lap and there's loads of room! I think at its widest the track reaches about 20m so there should be plenty of opportunities to overtake. The long, ultra-fast turn 8 complex is probably the most challenging part of the lap, for the drivers and the cars, but I'm really looking forward to running it in a Formula One car. I have experience of the circuit from my GP2 days and enjoyed racing it then. It's always helpful to have prior knowledge of a track so you aren't going into practice blind so you can just concentrate on set-up straight away. After another frustrating end to a race last weekend in Monaco, I'm keen to have a better weekend in Turkey.”

Sam Michael, Williams technical director
“We've spent the past week or so manufacturing new parts in readiness for Istanbul after the damage we sustained in Monaco. All of the items that needed replacing have been replaced now, apart from the front wings which require more time. As a result, we have to revert back to a previous specification for this race and wait until Montreal for the updated version. Cosworth have been working hard on the issues we have been seeing during the first part of the season and have had some positive indications from their dyno work. Istanbul will be an opportunity for us to test how these solutions look on the track. In line with our development programme, both FW32s will have new brake ducts for Istanbul and some additional mechanical changes.”

Robert Kubica, Renault
2009 Qualifying - 10th, 2009 Race - 7th

“The race in Monaco was our strongest performance so far this season, but it’s important that this result doesn’t make us overoptimistic because I think it will be difficult to repeat that pace this weekend. However, I still think we can be competitive in Turkey because the circuit characteristics are similar to Barcelona where we had good performance from the car. I’m also hoping that the new updates we have for this race will help us close the gap and qualify a little bit higher up than we did in Barcelona.

“(Istanbul Park) is certainly one of the best modern circuits with some nice corners, especially in the first sector of the lap. The final sector is a bit ‘mickey-mouse’ with some slow corners and is the complete opposite to the first sector, which means you have to make a compromise with the set-up. There’s also turn eight, which is quite a challenging corner and will be very interesting at the start of the race with a full tank of fuel.”

Vitaly Petrov, Renault
2009 Qualifying - n/a, 2009 Race - n/a

“(Istanbul Park) is a place that I like. You can overtake there, the circuit is wide and I enjoy the different kinds of corners - not just turn eight, but the rest of the lap too. To be honest, in GP2 turn eight was not so difficult but I will need to learn the circuit again in an F1 car. Like every race, my aim will be to do my maximum, and I’m pleased to be driving at a circuit I know well.

“For Turkey, I will be pushing hard again to do my best, but the target will be to put everything together and have a clean weekend. I think we will have to wait until Friday practice to see how the car is performing. In terms of qualifying, the target has to be to get in the top ten at least, and then we will see what happens on Sunday…”

Eric Boullier, Renault team principal
“I never like to make predictions, but we have to remember that Istanbul Park is a circuit with completely different characteristics to Monaco. We know that the car works well on tight, twisty circuits, but, as we saw in Barcelona, we still need to find some performance on circuits with a more classic layout. We will have some more developments in time for this weekend and they should place us somewhere between our Barcelona and Monaco pace, which will give us a good opportunity to fight well inside the points. My hope is that we can get the maximum from our package and get both cars in the points.”

Pedro de la Rosa, BMW Sauber
2009 Qualifying - n/a, 2009 Race - n/a

“I think Istanbul Park is a track where we should be able to regain the competiveness we showed in Barcelona, therefore I'm very much looking forward to the Turkish Grand Prix. I like the circuit. The last time I raced there was in 2006 and I finished fifth. Certainly the most challenging corner is turn eight - it is the longest high speed corner of the championship. With G-Forces of approximately four G for a period of six seconds on each lap this turn is pretty demanding for the tyres and the neck. Again, I desperately want to finish a race."

Kamui Kobayashi, BMW Sauber
2009 Qualifying - n/a, 2009 Race - n/a

"We learned another lesson in the last race in Monaco. But before that in Barcelona we had a really positive feeling for the improvement of the car, and I hope we can carry on from there. Istanbul Park is a nice track and it should suit our car, especially because it has both high and medium speed corners. The slower parts in the last sector should not be too much of a disadvantage. We have to remain confident and work hard."

James Key, BMW Sauber technical director
"From the street circuit in Monaco we go to a very different track in Istanbul, which I think is one of the teams' as well as the drivers' favourites. There is a big mix of very different corner speeds. It also has an interesting topography, which adds to the characteristics of the corners and the set-up of the cars. We have a mix of medium speed corners in the first sector, followed by the famous Turn Eight, which is very long and hard with a high g level. This is always a challenge for the drivers and the cars. Then we move on to a couple of long stretches at the back of the circuit where drag is important, and then to the windy section at the end. It's a very technical circuit with a lot of different corner types, so you have to make the right compromises on the car. It's a more normal circuit compared to where we have just come from, and I think it should suit our car better. Because of this we are looking to return to the form we showed in Barcelona, and carry all our set-up directions from there to Istanbul. We will use the F-Duct system again in Turkey, and we will also have some small aerodynamic updates on the car which should help us to be competitive."

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP
2009 Qualifying - 9th, 2009 Race - 5th

"Istanbul Park is a great circuit and one of the best of the newer tracks that we visit. From a drivers' point of view, the layout provides some good opportunities for overtaking with a very wide track, lots of late braking zones and gradient changes. Turn Eight is the corner that everyone talks about. The triple apex is probably one of the longest corners that we drive and it has very high G levels. It's great fun to drive and you can make up a lot of time there if you get it just right. I've had some decent results at Istanbul Park and we will be working very hard to get back on form after two disappointing races in Spain and Monaco where we didn't make the full use of our potential. We'll be back to our fully upgraded car, plus some more new developments that the team have been working on, so there will be a lot to achieve in the practice sessions and I believe that we can have a good weekend."

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP
2009 Qualifying - n/a, 2009 Race - n/a

"The Turkish fans have always been very kind to me therefore it will be a pleasure to be racing at Istanbul Park again in front of a crowd which will hopefully support us enthusiastically. From our side, we will obviously try to give them something to cheer about and we hope that we can make further progress in Turkey, after we have already seen some improvements in Barcelona and Monaco. The Istanbul Park track is a special one. It's anti-clockwise, a bit hilly and with a lot of different corner layouts so it's quite nice to drive. I am definitely looking forward to the weekend, especially as our guys back at the factory have worked immensely hard recently to provide us again with an upgraded car. It is clear that we want their efforts to pay off."

Ross Brawn, Mercedes GP team principal
"Monaco was a frustrating race for the team where we did not achieve our potential. We had a competitive and reliable car which proved to be the quickest in the race at various stages, we performed two excellent pit stops, one of which was the quickest of the race, but ultimately we did not deliver the results that we would have hoped for. However I am encouraged that we have made progress over the last two races and that we have identified our areas of weakness which we are working hard to rectify. We have some major and very challenging upgrades for the next few races which have been made possible by the commitment and hard work of everyone at the factory over the past weeks. In Turkey, we will return to our previous suspension system and longer wheelbase car, we have the latest iteration of our 'F-duct' rear wing plus further aerodynamic developments. It's a long road ahead to achieve the level of competitiveness that we are aiming for but each race is a step along the way and I am confident that we will get there."

Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"The Grand Prix in Istanbul takes place on a race track with some very quick corners which are the type of corners where we struggled at Barcelona some weeks ago. The 5.34km circuit also has seven quite tight corners, mainly in the last sector, and this combination presents a real challenge for the drivers, cars and tyres. We were quick in Monaco at the last race and mechanically our car works well, therefore with the further improvements that we are bringing for this race, we hope to make a step forward in Istanbul."

Jenson Button, McLaren
2009 Qualifying - 2nd, 2009 Race - 1st

“Istanbul Park is a track that I really enjoy. Turn Eight is one of the best corners in Formula One: it feels fantastic when you throw the car into the first apex, and then just feed it through with very precise throttle and steering inputs. When you get it right, it feels absolutely fantastic - you really can pull a lot of speed through that corner. Actually, I think the track is one of the better modern circuits we visit - it’s got a good balance of corners, some good gradient and, most importantly, in terms of overtaking, it’s probably the best-designed circuit that we visit all year. If you can follow a car out of Turn 10, then you’ve got a really good chance of getting a tow and having a look up the inside into Turn 12, or even Turn 13 - those two corners are where all the passing usually happens. We’ve got some new upgrades for this race, which I think underlines the strength of our development push. We should be particularly well suited to Turkey, and I think we’ve got a good chance of going well there.”

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2009 Qualifying - 16th, 2009 Race - 13th

“I’m looking forward to Turkey. I think we came away from Monaco with a respectable result, but the MP4-25 wasn’t particularly well suited to a tight and bumpy track like that. At a place like Istanbul Park, our car will be back in its element. It loves smooth, fast circuits, where the aero can really work over the car through the long, fast corners. It should feel fantastic to drive. So, looking at the characteristics of the track, it’s a place where we should be able to pick up from where we left off in Spain. We’re not under any illusions, but we think we’ll be able to get another decent result and we’re hopeful of taking the fight to the cars at the front. People have asked me whether tyre wear might be a problem this year, particularly with the higher fuel-loads, but I think our car works well in high-speed corners, and has typically been good at looking after its tyres during the race, so I don’t foresee there being any particular problems. I’ve had some good races in Turkey, but I’ve never won the race, so it would be fantastic to open my 2010 account with a victory there.”

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
“After non-finishes in Spain and Monaco for Lewis and Jenson respectively, we head to Istanbul determined to once again race at the front. On paper, the track configuration should suit the MP4-25 package, which seems to excel around faster circuits. The circuit has also been resurfaced ahead of this year’s race, so we’re expecting a return to the race pace we showed in places like Barcelona and Shanghai. Our development battle continues for this race. We’ll have the usual iterative changes for Turkey, these include some planned aerodynamic upgrades, which we hope will edge us closer to the front.”

More to follow.