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Turkey preview quotes - Ferrari, Virgin, Lotus, Pirelli & more 05 May 2011

(L to R): Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari and Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari on the drivers parade.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 10 April 2011 Timo Glock (GER) Virgin Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 16 April 2011 Jerome d'Ambrosio (BEL) Virgin Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, 8 April 2011 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Team Lotus.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sepang, Malaysia, Thursday, 7 April 2011 Jarno Trulli (ITA) Team Lotus. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Shanghai, China, Friday, 15 April 2011 Tony Fernandes (MAL) Team Lotus GP Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 25 March 2011 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Race, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 17 April 2011 (L to R): Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India F1 with Dr. Vijay Mallya (IND) Force India F1 Team Owner on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 10 April 2011 Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Race, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 17 April 2011 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 16 April 2011 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 16 April 2011 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai, China, Thursday, 14 April 2011 Ross Brawn (GBR) Mercedes GP Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai, China, Thursday, 14 April 2011 Red Bull technical chief Adrian Newey (left) chats on the grid with Mercedes Sporting Director Norbert Haug (centre) and Daimler Chairman Dr Dieter Zetsche (right) Nick Heidfeld (GER) Lotus Renault GP on the drivers parade.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Race Day, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 17 April 2011 Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Lotus Renault GP on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Race, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 17 April 2011 Eric Boullier (FRA) Lotus Renault GP Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Shanghai, China, Friday, 15 April 2011 James Allison (GBR) Lotus Renault GP Team Technical Director
Formula One Testing, Day 1, Valencia, Spain, Tuesday, 1 February 2011 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing with the media.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Race, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 17 April 2011 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing with the media.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Race, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 17 April 2011 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren with the media.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Race, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 17 April 2011 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Race, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 17 April 2011 Martin Whitmarsh (GBR) McLaren Chief Executive Officer. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Race, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 17 April 2011

Mention Istanbul Park and talk immediately turns to Turn Eight, the multi-apex left-hander that has become one of the classic corners on the F1 calendar. It’s going to be tough on tyres, so the focus will again be very much on Pirelli’s rubber. On top of that, several long straights will place a premium on KERS and DRS performance. Teams and drivers discuss the challenge that will be the Turkish Grand Prix…

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari
2010 Qualifying - 12th, 2010 Race - 8th

“In Turkey, we will have a few new aerodynamic components, but further updates are due to arrive in the following races. We know we have to take a significant step forward in terms of performance if we want to get back to fighting for the top places, especially in qualifying. I’m not expecting a major change in Istanbul: on Friday we will see if the new parts work the way we are expecting, but we are well aware that the others have not been twiddling their thumbs these past few weeks, so it’s impossible to say today where we are compared to our main rivals.

“The Istanbul circuit is very technical, with many different types of corner, some serious ups and downs and a couple of places where overtaking was possible in the past: this year that should be even more the case thanks to the moveable rear wing. This element has proved to play an important part in making overtaking easier, but the factor that has the biggest effect on whether one driver can pass another is the difference in tyre performance, as we clearly saw in China. When you end up in trouble with the tyres, it gets very difficult to defend your position from another driver, even if his tyres are just a few laps fresher than yours. Usually, the Istanbul race is pretty demanding on tyres and so it will be very important to get an understanding of their behaviour in Friday’s free practice. At the moment, the weather forecast looks very uncertain, especially for Friday, which adds a further unknown to this weekend.

“I don’t want to make any predictions about the final result: we know it will be tough for us, but the will to work hard and to do well is not lacking. I saw that these past few days in Maranello where everyone is working very hard, from Domenicali to the mechanics, so that everyone can get on top of the situation in their own area as soon as possible. It is this great desire to get the job done that makes the people at Maranello so special.”

Felipe Massa, Ferrari
2010 Qualifying - 8th, 2010 Race - 7th

“Istanbul is a very special place for me, as it was here in 2006 that I took my first ever Formula One victory, which is something no driver can ever forget. I remember it as an incredible win from pole position and also I recall the fact I finished ahead of Michael and Fernando who were fighting for the championship that year, which all added to making it a great achievement. And after that, I made it a hat-trick, winning for the next two years, when I was definitely the fastest man on track.

“Everyone in Maranello has been working very hard to produce some aero updates for this race, so hopefully we can be a bit stronger, even though these new elements cannot be considered to be a major upgrade. That is the story for this weekend, but we can expect more improvements to follow at the races immediately after this one. If you look at our positions in qualifying at the last race, we did not have the performance to deliver a podium result, but during the race itself our pace was such that we were actually fighting for a top three finish. We cannot say now what the situation will be in Turkey, because if we have been working hard, then so have the other teams, but it is not impossible that we will find ourselves with a car capable of fighting for a podium. It is true that the tyre situation is the same for everyone, but it is equally true that this could again be the key factor in deciding what happens in the race. The famous Turn Eight will be very important, because you really put a very heavy load on the tyres at this corner so we need to think carefully about the car set-up to deal with it and control the degradation. One element that could make this a completely different situation is that, currently, the weather forecast predicts some rain on nearly every day of the race weekend, which means we and especially our strategists, have to be very concentrated and ready for anything. I can’t remember rain in Istanbul, so it could make life interesting.”

Timo Glock, Virgin
2010 Qualifying - 21st, 2010 Race - 18th

“Turn Eight has quickly become one of my favourite corners on the calendar. That and the fact that this is one of only a handful of anti-clockwise tracks we will race at this year makes this one of the best and most challenging circuits around I think. It’s good to be racing in Europe again and starting off in Turkey, which is a great track and a lot of fun. The fact that this race is slightly earlier this year should be interesting because it is usually quite hot when we come here. We expect it to be cooler so with the new tyres for this year it is difficult for anyone to predict too much. Turn Eight has become one of my favourite corners. That and the fact that this is one of only a handful of anti-clockwise tracks we will race at this year makes this one of the best and most challenging circuits around I think. Istanbul is a great city - very interesting, - so I look forward to getting out and about a little bit. Then there’s a lot of hard work to focus on with our new upgrade. It’s quite a major package but these things take time to adapt to the track and our focus has to be getting as much running as possible so we can get maximum data and use it to keep working with the car in the next few races.”

Jerome D’Ambrosio, Virgin
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a

“For me it’s all about steady progress now. I’m really happy with my first three races in F1 and now I have to not just maintain that but keep pushing myself and moving forward as there is still so much to learn. Istanbul Park Circuit is a track I know well from my GP2 career and I love it, so I’m looking forward to heading to Turkey this week. The track has some good challenges and the chance to race on an anti-clockwise circuit is always fun and reminds you why you have to keep pushing so hard with your fitness levels, which I’ve been doing over the three-week break. For me it’s all about steady progress now. I’m really happy with my first three races in F1 and now I have to not just maintain that but keep pushing myself and moving forward as there is still so much to learn.”

John Booth, Virgin team principal
“The extent of our upgrade package for the start of the European season is significant to say the least. It represents a new direction for us and we’re hopeful that it will help us start to turn the corner. It’s been a well-deserved three weeks of rest after the first wave of long haul races, but I think everyone at Marussia Virgin Racing is looking forward to getting back on the road this week. It’s great to be back on relative home turf - in Europe - because we have everything we need at our fingertips, with the race trucks and motorhome at our disposal. We also have some fantastic circuits coming our way - a real mix of old and new. By our own admission it’s been a difficult start to the year, but we actually started doing something about that when we realised back in testing that we had not met our targets. We’ve been working hard behind the scenes since the middle of February and this weekend sees the culmination of all those efforts when we will be able to see just how much we can progress now. The extent of our upgrade package for the start of the European season is significant to say the least. Aerodynamically it’s a new direction for us and we’re hopeful that it will help us start to turn the corner, although with such a major step it may take us some time to tune it to the racetrack. Jerome will not have the benefit of the full upgrade package until Spain but he will get a taste of some of the elements this weekend. We are of course mindful of the fact that everyone should have taken a step forward ready for Europe, so we will have to see how we’ve fared versus the rest of the field. The drivers love the Istanbul Park Circuit. It’s a spectacular 5.338km track that has a bit of everything, but Turn Eight is worthy of particular mention having become one of the infamous corners in F1. We’ve started to gain a real understanding of the Pirelli tyres which leaves us well placed in terms of planning race strategies. Having said that we have not yet experienced a corner quite like Turn Eight with these tyres and we will be interested to see if it throws up an anomaly.”

Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus
2010 Qualifying - 20th, 2010 Race - DNF

"We've obviously been pretty busy since getting back from China and it was great to see so many fans turn out for us at Duxford last week. I had a really good day and it was cool to be given the chance to be the first person drive the Caterham in our team colours in front of everyone. Now it's on to Turkey which is a circuit I've always enjoyed. People talk about Turn Eight being the most hardcore bit of the track but for me it's not that big a challenge - our car should be ok around the whole lap and after having had more time to work on the next update, which we'll see in Barcelona, the focus will be on getting the most out of the car in qualifying and showing the pace that we know is there over one lap."

Jarno Trulli, Lotus
2010 Qualifying - 19th, 2010 Race - DNF

“Turkey's another chance for us to keep growing as a team and after the short break we've had it'll be good to get back into the car. The team's been hard at work on the aero updates we'll introduce at the Spanish Grand Prix and on a couple of mechanical fixes that will give me a better platform to really push on from. I want to make sure we can repeat the performance we showed in China and that relies on us having an error free Friday and Saturday and giving us the best chance to fight with the likes of Williams, Force India and Sauber."

Tony Fernandes, Lotus team principal
"We are all delighted that there has been such a warm and positive response to last week's announcement about Caterham Cars, but now our focus is back on track and the whole team is looking forward to the start of the European races. We have begun this season in the style we wanted to, making steady progress towards the midfield teams and I am hopeful we will continue to do that in Turkey. The next step forward should come in Spain where we have a number of significant updates on the cars, but for Turkey we will look to build on the improved reliability and pace we showed in China and work on maximising the mechanical and aero package we have on the T128. We have realistic expectations for this weekend, I am not expecting us to have found another chunk of time here as we have been focusing on the Barcelona race for the update package, but I am very confident about the future as the foundations for the long-term success of this team are being laid exactly as planned.”

Pirelli
Paul Hembery, motorsport director

“Turkey is one of the most important events of the year for us, as we have had our production facility at Izmit for more than 50 years now. As well as hosting some very important guests this weekend, we’re also looking forward to what should be a spectacular race on a stunning circuit. Istanbul Park should provide the tyres with one of their toughest tests of the year, because of the high-speed corners, abrasive and bumpy surfaces, and huge forces that act on the cars. The fearsome reputation of Turn Eight is in every way justified, and this should contribute to relatively high levels of tyre wear. I expect us to see three pit stops per car, but of course it will depend on the individual strategies that the teams choose to adopt, which have become an important feature of the races so far. While temperatures in Turkey are normally warm, the initial forecasts that we have received suggest slightly cooler conditions than usual, so I think we’re all in for another very intriguing and exciting weekend.”

Maurizio Boiocchi, research and development director
“We’re looking forward to seeing our new evolution of the hard compound tyre on track in Turkey on Friday. At Pirelli, we don’t believe in standing still so, in collaboration with the teams, we’re always working on new evolutions of the tyres that we hope will benefit the sport throughout the year. If we see the results that we expect from this life-sized test of the new tyre, our aim will be to use it at the next race in Barcelona. This tyre will provide less degradation and so we expect it to last longer, but the warm-up time will also be a little longer and there will be less grip.”

Rubens Barrichello, Williams
2010 Qualifying - 15th, 2010 Race - 14th

“I want to have a more competitive weekend with the team than we have had so far this season. We have new parts coming for Turkey which will hopefully work in our favour. I love Istanbul Park. It is one of the most challenging circuits on the calendar and we will aim to be flat out there. Everyone says Turn Eight is a highlight, and it is, but I also find the circuit nice from a set-up point of view with qualifying also a good challenge. I like the track as a whole.”

Pastor Maldonado, Williams
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a

“I’ve been to Istanbul Park four or five times and I think it is a good circuit to race on. Last year I had one of my best races of the season in Istanbul racing in GP2. If we can get the car performing as we want to this weekend, it will be a good event for us. Turn Eight is my favourite part of the circuit as it is an amazing, very long and fast corner. It is also quite a technical circuit. We are improving and I hope we can jump forward with the upgrades we have here and be more competitive.”

Sam Michael, Williams technical director
“We're bringing a number of upgrades to the FW33 over the next few races, starting with Istanbul. The package for Turkey will include new brake ducts, revised front wing and rear wings, plus some other secondary items. Combined, these components should give the FW33 a decent step-up in performance. Our objective is to get the car into the points as soon as possible. Istanbul Park has a great layout for the drivers to get their teeth into. In particular, it boasts an excellent natural overtaking spot at the end of the back straight. Turkey has the notorious Turn Eight, a left-hander which places considerable loads on the car’s aerodynamics. A car that can handle those pressures, combined with one capable of some significant kerb riding through the last sequence of corners, is critical at this track.”

Adrian Sutil, Force India
2010 Qualifying - 11th, 2010 Race - 9th

“It feels like ages since the last race, but it was good to have a short break to think about our start to the season, to analyse all the data and to relax a bit. In many ways the first three races were better than expected: we scored points and were always quite close to the top ten. As a team I think we did a good job and we've shown we have pretty solid reliability. The task now is developing the car and the updates we have coming look interesting so I'm excited to see how it goes.

“For this weekend, I'm looking forward to racing in Istanbul and I enjoy going there. It's a nice circuit: up and down, long straights and you can overtake. Turn Eight is very special - a fantastic corner to experience in an F1 car because of the high g-forces. I think we will be quite competitive and once again the goal is to score points.”

Paul Di Resta, Force India
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a

“I think the season so far has gone pretty well - very positive in terms of our performance from a team point of view. We know that we have work to do in terms of outright speed, but we've definitely maximised our strengths. We understand the car better now and that's where we have made big gains from winter testing.

“It was nice to have a break after China and I've been able to recharge my batteries before the European season starts. Racing at Istanbul will be a new experience for me because I didn't take part in Friday practice last year and I've never driven the track. All I have to go on is the simulator work I've carried out in preparation for the event. Turn Eight will be difficult, but the other corners are equally important for a good lap time. For learning a new track the simulation work helps and the team also provide me with as much information as possible. But I need to get an impression first before I think too much about it.”

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India test and reserve driver
2010 Qualifying - 17th, 2010 Race - 17th

“I like the layout of the track because you can find a good rhythm and there are some interesting, fast corners, so it's one of my favourite circuits. Turn Eight is the most exciting part: it's a super-quick triple left corner, which means not only a big challenge, but also a lot of fun. And the back straight with Turn 11, as well as the entire third sector, is very tricky and challenging. As a city, I think Istanbul is a beautiful place and I am really looking forward to the weekend.”

Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India chairman and team principal
“I think that overall we can be pleased with our start to the season. To have points on the board and a car that is capable of qualifying in the top ten means we are well placed to build on our competitiveness as we begin the European season. I'm very proud of both our drivers, too. Paul has driven superbly and has adapted very quickly to Formula One. Combined with Adrian's speed and experience, I see no reason why we cannot challenge for points at every race this year. Plus, we have some promising aerodynamic upgrades in the pipeline, which should make a significant difference to the performance of the car in the coming races.”

Narain Karthikeyan, HRT
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a

“I don’t have great memories of this circuit as my only previous visit in 2005 with Jordan GP was marred by mechanical problems but my memories of Turkey itself are great, the people are so nice and the food is fantastic.

“Istanbul Park is a medium- to high-downforce track so, hopefully with the new aerodynamic upgrades on the car, we’ll be able to find a good balance on the car. The circuit has a great variation of corners and stringing together a perfect lap will be a real challenge. The stand out corner is obviously Turn Eight, which requires a great amount of precision from both car and driver in order to get it right.

“I hope to continue from where I left off in Shanghai by finishing the race, gathering valuable data and getting closer to optimising the potential of the F111, which I know has a lot more to give. We are moving in a good direction ever since our first race in Malaysia, so I’m sure that with the upgrades due on the car for Turkey, we will take another step forward towards challenging the teams who are just in front of us.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi, HRT
2010 Qualifying - 18th, 2010 Race - 13th

“Istanbul Park is a very technical circuit where I enjoy racing. I remember back in 2006 when I went from 16th to 6th after a great start but, unfortunately, wasn’t able to finish the race because of a differential problem.

“I expect a vibrant race with a lot of overtaking. The unique thing about this track is curve eight which is a turn like no other, it’s a very tough curve especially when you’re in a car that doesn’t have a great amount of downforce, it’s very easy to lose your rear and snap out of the racing line.

“I think we should be in much better shape due to the updates arriving here in Turkey and after the time out on the track in the last few races. Every minute on the track is important for us.

“Our target for Turkey is to verify that our updates are working as per plan, closing the gap on the leader and obviously finishing the race ahead of our direct competitors. If everything goes to plan, I think Hispania Racing can surprise a lot of people by closing the gap considerably with respect to other teams thereby showing how serious our intentions of growing are.”

Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
“I believe that the Turkish Grand Prix should see Hispania Racing take the next step. Istanbul Park is a track that, due to its nature, should be favourable for us, add to that the fact that we have aerodynamic and mechanical updates for this race and I think that, if the data is confirmed on track, we should be able to beat our closest rivals.

“Our aim for the weekend is to close the gap with respect to our closest competitors in qualifying and fight for positions in the race, hopefully getting both cars over the finish line. Hispania Racing has made significant progress since the start of the season, we are working very hard to improve and definitely will improve.

“I think that, due to the tyre situation, we should see a very close race, anything is possible. In terms of speed, Red Bull is ahead but you never know what will happen. Istanbul is one of the most interesting cities in the world and the track itself has some of the best facilities on the calendar.”

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber
2010 Qualifying - 10th, 2010 Race - 10th

“After spending some time in Tokyo I’m very much looking forward to the race in Istanbul Park. It is an exciting track and one of my favourites. Last year our performance was pretty good there, and we scored our first point when I finished the race in tenth. It was a relief for us and this feeling is still a nice memory. There are a couple of high speed corners which I like, and I feel we should be quite competitive in Turkey. However, the corner I like most is the triple left hander which forms Turn Eight. Regarding tyre management, I find it difficult to predict how the situation will develop. The grip level at this circuit is normally very low, which means the cars tend to slide a lot. I believe it will be crucial to save the front tyres in particular so the wear is as low as possible.”

Sergio Perez, Sauber
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a

“In a way I feel for me the championship is about to start now with these next races on circuits I know. I have raced at Istanbul Park twice in the GP2 series and I find the track very nice. I especially used to enjoy turn eight a lot. With the Formula One car it will, of course, be physically demanding for the neck muscles, and turn eight will also be a special challenge for the front tyres. We will have to be careful with them. In any case I’m really looking forward to the Turkish Grand Prix and I want to bag my first points.”

James Key, Sauber technical director
“Istanbul Park is a good circuit, and one of the favourites with the teams and drivers. It’s quite technical and challenging. It will be another interesting event for the tyres, because the famous Turn Eight is one of the high speed corners of the year with the highest loading of the tyres. Although we have seen some high speed corners at the last two events, I think this is by far another step beyond that. It will be interesting to see how well the tyres cope with that in terms of wear and degradation. This could result in some alternative strategies in the race, but we will not know until we get there. The rest of the circuit is a pretty good mix of some medium-speed corners and the long back straight, which could provide some overtaking opportunities. But then at the end of the lap we have a combination of three low speed corners where braking stability into them, the line through them and traction out of them is important. They are quite technical corners. Overall this track offers a good mix of different corners. We expect quite reasonable weather conditions, with it not being too hot but in a better window for us than Shanghai was. Tyre management could be the key to the weekend of the Turkish Grand Prix. As far as the car is concerned, we will have some more test items to run on Friday - some of them aerodynamic and some of them mechanical - which we hope to introduce to the car pretty soon. Apart from that it will be another weekend for us to target the top ten, both in qualifying and the race.”

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP
2010 Qualifying - 5th, 2010 Race - 4th

"It is always exciting when the calendar returns to Europe and the racing schedule becomes more intense. After returning from the first three races, I have enjoyed spending some time with my family in the short break, and I am now really looking forward to the action getting underway again. The venue for our next race, Istanbul Park, is a great track and provides a good challenge for the drivers. It's anti-clockwise, has a lot of gradient changes and different corner layouts, so it's quite nice to drive. I know that the team have been working very hard to continue the progress that we made during the last race weekend in China and, with the help of some developments planned for Istanbul, I am confident that we can enjoy an equally positive weekend."

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP
2010 Qualifying - 6th, 2010 Race - 5th

"We had a more difficult start to 2011 than we had expected, and the first three races felt a little like a rollercoaster of emotions. We were all disappointed in Melbourne and Malaysia but, after leading the race in Shanghai, we have confirmed the potential of our car. The team did a very good job to take a step forward and we learned a lot from the weekend. Hopefully we can now make a further step for Turkey and produce another positive performance. After spending time with my family during Easter, I am really looking forward to the race at Istanbul Park. Turn Eight is one of the most challenging corners of the year: it's taken at full throttle for over eight seconds, with forces of up to 5G. If I had to create a fantasy Formula One circuit, this corner would definitely be included."

Ross Brawn, Mercedes GP team principal
"The team and drivers have worked extremely hard in the short break before the European season begins to ensure that we continue to move forward. We have a fundamentally good car and we need to achieve its full potential in the races to come. The Chinese Grand Prix reminded everyone at the team what it is like to fight for a race. We didn't succeed on that occasion but it's a feeling that we would like to experience more often. When the car is working properly, we can be more competitive and the solutions we are bringing to Turkey will help us achieve this level more consistently. However, we also know that we need to push for more performance if we want to fight regularly at the front. The first three races have been a challenge but we have pulled together and will continue working hard to make progress."

Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"The Turkish Grand Prix is the first race of the European season in the 2011 Formula One world championship. It is a demanding circuit for both cars and drivers, and Turn Eight is the longest corner of the entire season. Nearly 70 percent of the 5.338 km lap is spent at wide open throttle which means that, in addition to the chassis and tyres, the engine is under considerable load. At the last race in China, our team took a step up in competitiveness relative to the first races in Australia and Malaysia. Our aim is to consolidate this level of performance in Turkey before building on it."

Nick Heidfeld, Renault
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a

“I think we’ve shown over the first three races that we have a good car and Istanbul could be very interesting because it is the first European race and a lot of teams will bring updates, including us. Hopefully we’ll be able to give a good performance again.”

Vitaly Petrov, Renault
2010 Qualifying - 9th, 2010 Race - 15th

“I have very good memories from Istanbul Park, I like racing there. I had some big successes in GP2 there (winning in 2009). My first race there as a Formula One driver in 2010 was also memorable, as it was the first time I entered Q3 in qualifying and then I had a good race with great battles with both the Ferrari’s - unfortunately I didn’t score any points in the end due to a puncture but my race was still very good.

“I like the layout of the circuit; it has a lot of slow and fast corners, a good mix of everything but at the same time quite a technical circuit, we all know about the famous Turn Eight in Istanbul. Another aspect is that it is quite a wide track which makes it quite safe. Also, the track allows overtaking manoeuvres are possible so that should help make a great race.

“I will of course do the best we possibly can to get the best possible result. We’re expecting upgrades for Turkey which is good, and of course the other teams will react too and work hard to beat us. We’ll be doubling our efforts in order to catch the teams in front. You never know what can happen during a race weekend but both my team and I will fight hard.”

Eric Boullier, Renault team principal
“We have a good upgrade package coming for Turkey. I think that historically the teams were preparing to introduce their development packages for Europe, but I think that in the last couple of years the development race is continuous and this competition has already started. Teams have already been bringing new packages in Malaysia and China. Still, the first race in Europe remains significant in terms of improvements that teams will bring and this will be clear again this year.

“It [Istanbul Park] reminds me of a great fight Vitaly had with Fernando (Alonso) last year, and a very strong race that both Robert (Kubica) and Vitaly had. I know that our car is looking more competitive this year and our drivers know like the circuit, so we hope that it will be a good weekend for us.”

James Allison, Renault technical director
“Like all the teams we’ll be bringing some [new] parts. There will be a different front wing, some modifications around the nose, updates to the air intake area of the car and some tweaks to the floor. It’s a fairly regular type of track, not especially dissimilar to Malaysia and China, so I would hope that we can continue compete at a high level.”

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2010 Qualifying - 3rd, 2010 Race - DNF

“I hope you all had a good weekend; I relaxed a bit with my family and friends, as I haven’t seen them all for a long time and also did some training to be fit for Turkey. After being on the road for such a long time it was good to do normal things again. I like the Turkish circuit, it has all types of corners, slow and fast, like Turn Eight. It’s an awesome corner, we try to take it flat year by year. It’s fast and extremely bumpy, so you can hardly see where you’re going - you turn in and hope for the best. Turkey is a hard track on tyres and it’s usually quite hot there - but I especially like the place as it’s where I had my first F1 test drive. Our car should be strong there, but of course we have to respect our competitors and can never take anything for granted. People are pushing hard, but we are pushing very hard too to maintain our strengths.”

Mark Webber, Red Bull
2010 Qualifying - 1st, 2010 Race - 3rd

“I hope you all had a good Easter. I caught up with some friends and had some good downtime. It’s a bit odd in the UK at the moment with all the bank holidays, but the weather has been sensational. And, of course, I ate a few Easter eggs… Looking to Turkey, I like Istanbul Park - there are a lot of undulations, which makes the track a little bit more challenging in places. The circuit includes Turn Eight, which is a very, very long corner with multiple apexes and is very high speed, which puts added strain on the tyres and the drivers’ necks. It’s also a corner that rewards accuracy with your racing line if you get it right early in the corner.”

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2010 Qualifying - 2nd, 2010 Race - 1st

“I won this race last year and Istanbul Park is a circuit I really enjoy. It’s a great modern track, with a real variety of corners, plenty of high-speed stuff and a place where you really feel the benefit of having the car properly hooked up beneath you. Of course, everyone talks about Turn Eight, which is a fantastic corner, but I also love late-braking into Turns Nine and 12, because you can get the car into the corner while still carrying quite a bit of speed; and getting it right is really satisfying.

“For this race, I think we’ll be seeing drivers working quite hard to look after their tyres throughout the race, particularly in Turn Eight, which is fast and bumpy; it’s one of the most demanding corners for tyres anywhere on the calendar. This is also a circuit where KERS Hybrid will be a major benefit - most of the straights come after low-speed corners, so there’s plenty of scope for using the KERS Hybrid - most notably out of Turn 10, but also out of the final corner. There’s always quite a big chance for passing into Turn 12, because it’s quite easy to stay with a leading car out of Turn 10 and duck into the tow.

“There’s every reason to believe that the run of interesting and exciting races will continue next weekend.”

Jenson Button, McLaren
2010 Qualifying - 4th, 2010 Race - 2nd

“After the race in China, I think there’ll once again be a lot of focus on tyre durability and drop-off next weekend. Looking at the track configuration, our simulations suggest that Turkey will be a critical test for the tyres - particularly the front-right, which will be placed under considerable load through Turn Eight. It’s a high-speed, multi-apex turn with a lot of loading, so I think we’ll spend part of Friday monitoring the loads through the tyres to make sure we can achieve a safe and achievable balance for the race before we head into qualifying on Saturday.

“I don’t think it’s an under-estimation to say that tyre wear will probably determine every team’s race strategy. It will be important to run the tyre within a safe operating window, and that’s likely to determine when and how often we stop during the Grand Prix. The weather also looks like it’s going to be a bit colder than we’re used to in Turkey - the race is three weeks earlier in the season than it was last year, and that might also have an effect on how the tyre operates. It’s going to be another interesting race.”

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
“Winning in China was a fantastic reward for all the hard effort that’s been undertaken both at the racetrack and the McLaren Technology Centre to turn MP4-26 into a race winner. We’re excited and encouraged by the pace and consistency that both drivers have shown in the opening three flyaway races, but the return to Europe brings fresh challenges. We’re under no illusions that we need to improve our qualifying and race pace if we are to remain a threat at the front. Additionally, many teams will be readying significant upgrade packages for the Turkish Grand Prix; nobody can afford to sit still.

“For this race, we’ll be evaluating a number of small modifications - which include some aerodynamic refinements to the bodywork - during Friday practice. Our pace of development is what can win us this championship, and we go into Turkey determined to ensure our upgrades deliver practical gains and are able to confer a useful margin to both drivers. Our one-two finish in Turkey last year was one of our most exciting races - and the memory of that result will doubtless spur on the whole team next weekend.”

More to follow.

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