With upgrades ready for action on the two MP4-25's, McLaren are hopeful that the Istanbul circuit will welcome them with open arms and allow them to be the ones to cross the checkered flag first. And with circuit characteristics that are regarded as suiting the McLaren's style, both Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton are feeling quite hopeful of that.
“Istanbul Park is a track that I really enjoy," says Jenson Button, while explaining, "Turn Eight is one of the best corners in Formula 1: 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 added, “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 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 tyrewear 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 - Team principal, commented, “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."