While technically located in Asia to the east of the Bosporus, the Turkish Grand Prix marks the start of the European Formula One season with several teams introducing important upgrades. Pirelli too will bring a new evolution of the hard compound tires for all the teams to try out during Friday’s two free practice sessions only, as was the case in Malaysia. The allocation for the rest of the weekend is unaffected, with the hard and the soft compound tires nominated once more for Turkey: the compounds that were also used for the first three thrilling races of the year.
Inaugurated in 2005, the 5.338-kilometer Istanbul Park track is well known as one of the most challenging circuits of the year. The track’s most famous corner is Turn Eight: a complex high-speed left-hander with multiple apexes, testing the tires to the maximum.
From Istanbul onwards, Pirelli’s new P Zero will carry new and more prominent color markings on the sidewalls. Turkey also marks the opening round of the GP2 and GP3 championships, which will also be exclusively supplied by Pirelli for the next three years.
“We’re looking forward to seeing our new evolution of the hard compound tire on track in Turkey on Friday,” said Pirelli’s Research and Development Director, Maurizio Boiocchi. “At Pirelli, we don’t believe in standing still so, in collaboration with the teams, we’re always working on new evolutions of the tires that we hope will benefit the sport throughout the year. If we see the results that we expect from this life-sized test of the new tire, our aim will be to use it at the next race in Barcelona. This tire will provide less degradation and so we expect it to last longer, but the warm-up time will also be a little longer and there will be less grip.”
Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery believes Turn Eight will definitely play a factor in this weekend’s GP. “Turkey is one of the most important events of the year for us, as we have had our production facility at Izmit for more than 50 years now,” said Hembery. “As well as hosting some very important guests this weekend, we’re also looking forward to what should be a spectacular race on a stunning circuit. Istanbul Park should provide the tires with one of their toughest tests of the year, because of the high-speed corners, abrasive and bumpy surfaces, and huge forces that act on the cars. The fearsome reputation of Turn Eight is in every way justified, and this should contribute to relatively high levels of tire wear. I expect us to see three pit stops per car, but of course it will depend on the individual strategies that the teams choose to adopt, which have become an important feature of the races so far. While temperatures in Turkey are normally warm, the initial forecasts that we have received suggest slightly cooler conditions than usual, so I think we’re all in for another very intriguing and exciting weekend.”