What's at stake at Istanbul this weekend?

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After the three-week summer break the Formula One teams will be in Turkey this weekend to kick off the last part of the2007 season. Will there be any surprises? And what's at stake for the Renault F1 Team at Istanbul?

No testing, no innovations?

As the regulations forbid any testing between the Hungarian and Turkish Grand Prix the teams have been unable to validate the innovations thought up in the design departments on the track. This, however, will not prevent some of them from introducing some new modified aerodynamic devices and mechanical tweaks. Spyker, for example, is supposed to turn up with a reworked car that is the basis of its 2008 contender. Red Bull Racing has made a few modifications to its RB3, and the Renault F1 Team has fine-tuned its R27 to meet the particular requirements of the Turkish circuit. Since Hungary the teams have been allowed to cover only 50 kilometres to shake down their cars, so there is every chance that they will rack up a lot of mileage during tomorrow’s 2 free practice sessions.

Alonso: a symbolic rendezvous

Turkey will be the reigning world champion’s 100th grand prix and he will be gunning for victory. For him, it’s a question of honour! The Spaniard still hasn’t managed to stomach the penalty inflicted on him in Budapest, which probably cost him victory. He knew that having lost pole position on a circuit as tight as the Hungaroring, his chances of a win were severely compromised. His team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, came home first and increased his lead in the drivers’ world championship to 7 points. The relationship between the two men is very strained at present, and McLaren also faces the prospect of being sanctioned at the FIA Appeal Court’s meeting on 13th September. This additional stress should not undermine the work of the men from Woking who still lead both world championships. In 2005 and 2006, Alonso finished second on the Istanbul circuit and this year he is hoping to go one better.

Ferrari’s aim: 6 victories

The Scuderia has still a few aces up its sleeve. The Italian team’s stated aim is victory in the remaining 6 grand prix. “The last track that we knew would put us at a disadvantage was Budapest,” explains Kimi Raïkkönen. “Our car should be very competitive in the next 3 races in Istanbul, Monza and Spa.” The F2007 will have a few aerodynamic modifications this weekend, and it is worth noting that it won the Magny-Cours and Silverstone events held on circuits very similar to those coming up next. But it is not going to be easy. Raïkkönen is 20 points behind Lewis Hamilton in the title chase while Felipe Massa is just 1 point behind his team-mate. In the constructors’ classification, Ferrari is 19 points adrift of McLaren, which was not allowed to score points in Hungary following the sanction inflicted on it by the Stewards. The British team has appealed against this penalty and the case will be heard on 19th September.
Luca Montezemolo, the Ferrari President, sums up the situation: “we have the potential to win the next 6 races,” he says. “But to do so we have to be perfect!”

The ING Renault F1 Team: maximise the performance

This weekend, the ING Renault F1 Team’s mission will be to get the very best out of the R27 package, and continue its attempts to close the gap to the 3 teams in front of it in terms of performance. Istanbul is a natural layout with a fairly high average speed. These characteristics should suit the R27 better than those of Budapest. It looks like being a hot weekend and this will help maximise another of the Renault’s advantages, its optimised cooling system, which means it will not have to make extra openings in the bodywork thus improving its aerodynamic efficiency in relation to its rivals.

Source Renault