Updated: May 7
Intercity Istanbul Park is another Hermann Tilke designed track, this time in the less common anticlockwise configuration. With features resembling multiple world-famous tracks, many people believe this circuit is one of the better ones we have seen in F1. The track made its return in 2020, off the back of the Covid Pandemic, following a nine-year gap. The track highlight is the super-fast, multiple apex left-hander of Turn 8, which is totally flat out today.
There is only one thing people seem to talk about when coming to Istanbul and that is the famous Turn 8. What is really four separate apexes, Turn 8 makes up a significant proportion of this sector. It is a challenging, high-speed, long left-hander which will put lots of stress through the tyres. However, there are still plenty more challenges in store in this sector.
After the short downhill straight towards Turn 7, hit the brakes as the entry kerb starts. Bear in mind that the braking starts slightly downhill before rising uphill in the latter stages of braking. This means you will get more grip nearer the apex.
Avoid getting on the inside kerb too much as this can unsettle the rear as you get on the throttle.
Use this compression to get early on the power in 4th gear but try not to run the car out to the exit kerb too soon or it will drag you onto the grass. Instead, wait until you reach the end of the corner before you get anywhere near the rumble strip.
Turn 8, certainly the most famous corner on the track. With a total of four apexes, some would consider them as many different corners. However, if you are a good driver you can string these apexes into one continuous radius.
Approaching the 1st apex, keep the throttle pinned (as you should through the whole section) and stay wide to miss the 1st apex kerb by a significant amount. This is the point where you set the steering input that will hopefully get you through the next three apexes with minimal adjustment. This instinct obviously comes with practice.
For the 2nd apex, stay flat but get a little bit closer to the apex than the 1st.
It is only by the 3rd apex that you should be getting really close to the kerb, still keeping a constant steering angle and smooth inputs. To maintain the downforce don't get up onto the kerb though. Also, be wary of the AstroTurf on the exit as going onto this could cause a high-speed crash.
Finally, for apex number four, stay flat and get that left tyre onto the middle of the kerb. Be sure to avoid clipping the grass at the apex, hold a constant steering angle and run out onto the exit kerb
The run towards Turn 9 is significantly downhill so be careful on the brakes and leave extra margin. Start braking around the 100m board.
Since it is downhill you are likely to pick up some understeer so get the car turned in earlier than you think. Use 3rd gear and clip the striped part of the kerb, watching out for the bollard.
Be aware that although the compression in the track could ultimately give you more grip, it might also unsettle the car and the balance at the same time.
Normally you want to compromise your run a lot to aid the next part of a chicane. Here, that is partly true but not as important as you would think. Since T10 is easily flat out, you can get on the power earlier and run out a bit wider here without needing to lift in T10, resulting in more speed down the straight.
Take Turn 10 as you begin to apply full throttle and clip the rumble strip (not the AstroTurf).
To allow yourself to get the power down earlier, hold the steering straighter for longer, then make the turn once you have the downforce. Run the exit kerb to carry even more speed.