It is with some degree of excitement that Istanbul returns to Istanbul Park for Round 14 of the F1 championship following a hiatus of nine years.
The 2011 race, won by Sebastian Vettel, was an absolute classic. And this year’s edition also promises to deliver after the excitement produced by the last few grands prix.
Although Mercedes has already secured an incredible seventh successive constructors’ title following Lewis Hamilton’s Emilia Romagna GP victory, there is all to play for behind. Just a point separates third-placed Renault from McLaren and BWT Racing Point, partnered by Acronis.
Thanks to Sergio Perez’s consistent form, BWT Racing Point team is firmly in the mix for that accolade of ‘Best of the Rest’ behind Mercedes and Red Bull Racing.
“I’ve only raced there once, but It’s a very nice track. It’s very fast and it famously has the long Turn 8 corner,” said Perez in his team’s race preview. “It’s a circuit that’s very physical and we’ll definitely feel it in the neck at the end of the weekend! I’m really looking forward to racing there again.
“We’re driving very advanced cars compared to when we raced there in 2011, so I think we’ll have to re-learn the corner in some ways, especially now it’s been repaved – it used to be very bumpy. The whole lap will be challenging, it’s very hard on the brakes and it should provide some good overtaking opportunities too.”
The team’s current standing of P5 in the constructors’ standings could, and perhaps should, be much better. But luck has certainly not been on Lance Stroll’s side, the Canadian having his chances dashed after being hit by others on more than one occasion.
“I’m feeling good about this weekend,” said Stroll. “We’ve been quite unlucky recently so it’s a chance to score points and get back into a good rhythm. It’s a close fight in the midfield, but I think we’ve got a car that’s going to be competitive at all of the remaining races.
Riding that horse all the way to Turkey… I'm ready 💪 pic.twitter.com/jJJFbti0iI
— Lance Stroll (@lance_stroll) November 11, 2020
“Everybody speaks about Turn 8 and I think that’s going to be the highlight. It should feel pretty special in these modern F1 cars. The battle for P3 is getting closer and closer and consistency is going to be really important. We definitely want to fight for some more podiums in the final part of this year.”
Another Acronis partner team hoping for more luck this weekend is Williams Racing, who seemed on track to net a valuable point before George Russell’s unfortunate mistake late in the Emilia Romagna GP.
“I am excited to get back racing in Turkey, and for the challenge of driving at a new circuit,” said Russell. “It has been good to have a week off to reflect on what happened at Imola and learn from my mistake. The recent performance from the car has been really encouraging and I am looking forward to seeing what we can achieve. Overall, I am feeling stronger and prepared to fight back this weekend.”
"As a team, we're definitely on the up. Our recent form has been really strong."#TurkishGP 🇹🇷 | #WeAreWilliams 💙 pic.twitter.com/YH6ALdgWZh
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) November 12, 2020
Istanbul ❤️🇹🇷 pic.twitter.com/oDeJ91kUhe
— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) November 11, 2020