Things to know ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Turkey, Istanbul Parktr

Racing Point’s Lance Stroll took his maiden pole position in yesterday’s qualifying thriller for today’s Turkish Grand Prix to become the sport’s fifth youngest pole-sitter.

After a nine-year absence, Formula One returned to Turkey for the Turkish Grand Prix, Round 14 of the 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship. The track is widely regarded as one of the drivers’ favourite circuits, but the current field has been unable to really enjoy the fantastic layout of the Intercity Istanbul Park so far this weekend.

The track has just been resurfaced and the ten-day-old surface has caused lots of headaches to drivers and engineers not only in damp, but also in dry conditions.

A challenging track – With its length of 5.338km, the Intercity Istanbul Park belongs to the longer tracks. Drivers will need to complete a total of 58 laps to cover the race distance of 309.396km. There is a slight difference between the start and finish line with the former being 208m further ahead.

Pit lane – Drivers will be required to adhere to a speed limit of 80kph in the pit lane. That is a factor that strategists will need to consider when deciding over the strategy with the one-stop and two-stop strategies both being very much possible in today’s race.

Two DRS zones – There will be two DRS zones at the Turkish Grand Prix. The first detection point is 82 metres before Turn 9, with the activation point 82m before Turn 11. The second zone has its detection point 33m before Turn 13, while the activation point is 69m after Turn 14.

The most durable compounds – Ahead of the weekend, Pirelli expected the track to place heavy loads on the tyres, hence it brought its hardest compounds to Istanbul. Turn 8, the quick, high-G, four-apex 640m left-hander usually poses a real test to the tyres which urged Pirelli to go a conservative way for the Turkish Grand Prix. The C1 is this weekend’s hard tyre, the C2 and the C3 tyres are designated as the medium and the soft compounds respectively. However, the Friday practices showed that the cold conditions and the resurfaced track would have allowed the Milan-based tyre manufacturer to bring a step softer tyre range.

Two-stopper – On Friday, drivers were hardly able to conduct tyre analysis on the freshly-resurfaced track, meaning that it is almost impossible to predict a strategy for today’s race. Pirelli estimates that a two-stopper is the quickest approach: with two stints of 16 laps on the Red soft plus a Yellow medium stint of 26 laps. Another way of doing it, if there’s graining on the soft, is just one 14-lap stint on the red tyre with two 22-lap stints on the medium. If it’s warm enough to switch on the hard compound, the teams could try a one-stopper with 30 laps on medium and 28 laps on hard. Alternatively, 20 laps on soft and 38 laps on hard.

The fastest lap – Interestingly, the lap record was set at the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix with Juan Pablo Montoya recording the fastest ever race lap with a time of 1m24.770 with McLaren in 2005.

The big return – Today’s Turkish Grand Prix will be the eighth FIA Formula One World Championship race in Turkey. The country joined the sport in 2005 and featured annually for the following six seasons with the last race held in 2011.

The Brazilian – Felipe Massa is the most successful driver around the Istanbul Park. The former Ferrari driver took his maiden F1 victory in Turkey in 2006, followed by two other victories in the following two years. He is the only repeat winner at the Turkish Grand Prix. The other winners are Kimi Räikkönen, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. The Finn won the inaugural race with McLaren-Mercedes while the German emerged victorious last time out when the sport visited Istanbul.

The Italians – Owing to Felipe Massa’ successes in the red car, Ferrari is the most successful outfit at the Turkish Grand Prix with two wins. McLaren has claimed two triumphs while Brawn GP is a one-time winning team at Istanbul.

The Finn and the Spaniard – Kimi Räikkönen holds the record for most fastest laps with two. The Finn achieved this feat with Ferrari. Fernando Alonso has the most podium finishes of any drivers in Istanbul despite never winning the event. The Spaniard stood on the podium with Renault twice and once with McLaren and Ferrari.

Sponsors – The Turkish Grand Prix have been supported by different sponsors over the years. Petrol Ofisi was the title-giving sponsor between 2006 and 2008, ING was the main sponsor in 2009 while DHL partnered the event in 2011 and also this year.

New helmet design – Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel will race with a special helmet design today. The German driver carries the message of diversity and inclusion. The four-time world champion once again asked designer Jens Munser to create a special design that depicts a diverse crowd and a prominent rainbow stripe . "The message, which is very dear to Sebastian Vettel's heart in these difficult times and which has significantly inspired the design, can be found on the top of the helmet," added the designer.