The third and final part of our trawl through the team’s preview of Turkey focuses on the views of both McLaren and Mercedes.
You’d be mistaken that it was 2009 after the turnaround in fortunes of the Woking team this year. The MP4-26 is now a race-winning car thanks to Lewis Hamilton, and both him and Jenson Button have previous wins in Istanbul to draw experience from. Jenson just needs to park in the right pit box/stay on the track while overtaking/pick the right tyres at the right time (delete where applicable) and he should be there or thereabouts too.
Lewis Hamilton: “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.
“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: “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.
“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 inTurkey – the race is three weeks earlier in the season than it was lastyear, and that might also have an effect on how the tyre operates. It’sgoing to be another interesting race.”
Nico Rosberg’s surprise stint in the lead in China (seriously, how DID he manage that?) has brought some spotlight back onto the former Brawn team. With grizzly veteran Schumacher out to prove his doubters wrong yet again, could Turkey mark the resurgence of the Silver Baron? Only if his DRS manages to work for once.
Michael Schumacher: “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: “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 between six and seven seconds, with forces of up to 5G. If I had to create a fantasy Formula One circuit, this corner would definitely be included.”