This weekend the teams are heading to Istanbul in Turkey. The teams will be using Bridgestone s hard and medium compound Potenza tyres on the 5.34 km track, making it the fifth time that this combination of hard and medium has been used this season.
It is only the third time that Istanbul has hosted a Formula 1 race, however it is known for being a Bridgestone friendly circuit. Last season, Felipe Massa won on Bridgestone tyres and at the MotoGP race in April, the top six placed riders were all on Bridgestone tyres.
The circuit has a mix of corners, with turn eight particularly well known for being a tyre-killer. A left-handed triple-apex with a downhill entry, the corner is a stern test of the tyres generating some of the highest G-forces a driver will see all season. It will be worth keeping an eye on the right fronts of the cars to see how well they hold up throughout the race. Turns twelve to fourteen are also tough on the tyres with a slow left-right-left combination straight after a high speed straight. This combination leads to tyre graining and drivers must take care to preserve their tyres.
Most of the circuit is on some form of slope either down- or up-hill – and the mixture of corners means that being on the front row is not as important as it is in somewhere like Hungary as there are plenty of overtaking places on the track.
Engineers and drivers alike tend to enjoy the circuit. Being a fairly new circuit, the track surface itself is in good condition smooth, with kerbs that are not too aggressive. This mix allows engineers to use a fairly stiff suspension setup combined with a low ride height to maximise the aerodynamic efficiency of the car.
The engine will come under a lot of strain during the race with approximately 67% of the lap spent at full throttle a much higher percentage than is seen at most other circuits. Between turns ten and twelve, full throttle will be applied for around 16 seconds a relatively long period of time. This means the engine must be well cooled to avoid over-heating, although there are no extended slow sections which should help with the overall cooling of the car.
Although the circuit is fairly high speed, the braking demands are not that severe. However drivers will be watching out at the braking zone into turn twelve as this is one of the best overtaking places on the track.
Overall, tyre choices will once again prove critical, with the overall energy being put into the tyres incredibly high. In particular, the drivers who are able to keep their front tyres on form, in particular the right front, are likely to be the ones who do well during the race.