The Turkish Grand Prix

Established in 2005, the Turkish Grand Prix is one of the newest events on the Formula One calendar. Since 2006 it has been sponsored by Petrol Ofisi, the Turkish petroleum company and is officially known as the Petrol Ofisi Turkish Grand Prix.

The Track

Turkey began hosting Formula One racing in 2005, making its F1 debut with a purpose-built circuit in Istanbul. Named the Istanbul Park International Circuit, the track was designed by German architect, Herman Tilke, who also designed the famous circuits at Bahrain, Sepang and Shanghai.

The track covers a distance of 5.378 kilometres and features a mammoth fourteen turns (eight left and six rights). The race consists of 57 laps of the circuit, covering a total distance of 309.72 km.

Turkish Grand Prix

Turkish Grand Prix

Unusually it is designed for cars to race around the circuit in an anti-clockwise direction, a feature only shared by two other Formula One tracks (the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, Italy and the Autódromo José Carlos Pace, Brazil) Given the nature of the land in Istanbul, the track dips and falls and for this reason racers can expect to experience more variances than at most other circuits.

Herman Tilke based elements of his track design on some of the best features from F1 tracks around the world. Corner one, for example, has been compared to the corkscrew at Laguna Seca and to the first corner at the Brazilian race track, Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace.

Similarly some people have likened the flat-out kink on one of the circuit’s hills to the Eau Rouge corner found at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, the famed venue of the Belgian Grand Prix.

Arguably the most challenging aspect of the track is turn eight which effectually has four corners joined together, a turn which has caused even top-class drivers to lose control at that point in the race. It was at this turn that Columbian F1 driver, Juan Pablo Montoya, ran into trouble when trying to lap Tiago Monteiro in the 2005 Turkish Grand Prix, allowing Fernando Alonso to take second place to help secure his World Championship win later that year.

Istanbul Park can accommodate up to 155,000 spectators including 25,000 in the main grandstand, offering premium viewing of the start and finish lines, the pit boxes and the podium. The circuit also has excellent corporate facilities marked by two seven storey VIP towers situated at either end of the paddock area.

Turkish Grand Prix

2005:

The first Turkish Grand Prix took place on August 21 2005, with Kimi Raikkonen starting from pole position. Raikkonen took first place and Juan Pablo Montoya looked set for second before he over-braked on the penultimate lap and made contact with Tiago Monteiro, damaging his diffuser.

On the following lap Montoya lost his rear gip and went straight ahead at the notorious turn eight, losing second place to Spanish driver Fernando Alonso. It was a bad race for Felipe Massa who won the Turkish Grand Prix in 2006 and 2007.

Massa had a first corner collision with Nick Heidfield, losing his front wing and bargeboard. The parts were replaced but shortly after getting back in the race his engine failed and he was forced to retire on the 29th lap. Nick Heidfield and Mark Webber, both racing for Williams, also retired from the race after each car had two right-tyre failures.

  • 1 – Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) McLaren-Mercedes
  • 2 – Fernando Alonso (Spain) Renault
  • 3 – Juan Pablo Montoya (Colombia) McLaren-Mercedes
  • 4 – Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy) Renault
  • 5 – Jenson Button (Britain) Honda
  • 6 – Jarno Trulli (Italy) Toyota
  • 7 – David Coulthard (Britain) Red Bull-Cosworth
  • 8 – Christian Klein (Austria) Red Bull-Cosworth

2006:

Held on August 25 – August 27, the 2006 Turkish Grand Prix was the fourteenth race of the F1 season. Felipe Massa raced from pole position for the first time in his racing career, finishing in first place, the inaugural F1 victory of his career.

The 2006 race had a somewhat disastrous beginning, when Italian driver Giancarlo Fisichella spun on the first corner causing Scott Speed to collide with Kimi Raikkonen and puncture one of Raikkonen’s rear tyres. Scott Speed also needed repairs after the incident, as did Nick Heidfield, Ralf Schumacher and Tiago Monteiro.

Avoiding the accident, Massa dominated the race and the fight was on for second place. Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso fought a close race in the last fifteen laps but Schumacher was unable to make it past the Spanish driver, despite being on his gearbox on the final corner. Alonso came second and Schumacher third with a fraction of a second between them. British driver Jenson Button came in fourth for Honda.

  • 1 – Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari
  • 2 – Fernando Alonso (Spain) Renault
  • 3 – Michael Schumacher (Germany) Ferrari
  • 4 – Jenson Button (Britain) Honda
  • 5 – Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) McLaren-Mercedes
  • 6 – Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy) Renault
  • 7 – Ralf Schumacher (Germany) Toyota
  • 8 – Rubens Barrichello (Brazil) Honda

2007

The third Turkish Grand Prix took place on August 24 – 26 2007 and was the twelfth race on the F1 calendar. Young British racer, Lewis Hamilton, started the race with a seven-point lead over his team mate, Fernando Alonso, after his victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Unfortunately, after a puncture late in the race, Hamilton slipped to 5th place and finished with a 5 point lead over Alonso who finished the race in 3rd place. Despite Hamilton and Alonso’s success in previous races it was Ferrari who dominated the Turkish Grand Prix. Ferrari driver, Felipe Massa, started from pole position and looked strong all the way through, finishing in first place.

His team mate, Kimi Raikkonen, (who formerly raced for McLaren) looked like he might pass Massa after the first round of pit-stops but it wasn’t to be and Raikkonen took second place. After the race, Massa praised Istanbul Park saying of the circuit that it was the track where I made my career turn-around and finally began winning races.

  • 1 – Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari
  • 2 – Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari
  • 3 – Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren-Mercedes
  • 4 – Nick Heidfield (Germany) BMW Sauber
  • 5 – Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren-Mercedes
  • 6 – Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Renault
  • 7 – Nico Rosberg (Germany) Williams-Toyota
  • 8 – Robert Kubica (Poland) BMW Sauber

Controversy

Despite entering the Formula One calendar just three years ago, the Turkish Grand Prix has already been wrapped up in controversy. In 2006 the winner’s trophy was presented to Brazilian driver, Felipe Massa, by Mehmet Ali Talat who was announced to television viewers as the president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

The FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) investigated the incident as a breach of political neutrality, made worse by the last minute decision of the trophy-presenter, which left the FIA no chance to assess the choice.

It was initially feared that this incident could be the end of the Turkish Grand Prix but eventually Turkey was punished by a $5 million fine and the race was allowed to continue.

Travel

Aimed at international racing fans, official F1 tour packages are available for the Turkish Grand Prix, which include a three day pass for the Grand Prix, three nights accommodation, airport pick-up and coach transfer to and from Istanbul Park each day (most packages do not include flights). Packages can be purchased at a range of prices depending on the accommodation. For more details visit Turkey Grand Prix Online

Istanbul has two major airports, Ataturk and Sabiha Gocken. Ataturk is the larger of the two and is served by both regional and international airlines. Sabiha Gocken is just 4 km from the circuit and is also well-served by international flights.

Istanbul Park is located approximately 90 kilometres from the centre of Istanbul. From the Istanbul-Ankuru Trans European motorway, take the exit signposted Sekerpynar-Bayramoglu or the exit for the Sabiha Gocken Airport and follow signs to Istanbul Park.

Buses to Istanbul Park are available on race days and run from Ataturk Airport, Taksim Square, Mecidiyekoy, Kadykoy, Bostancy and Pendik. It is also possible to get the sea bus from Bakyrkoy, Karakoy, Eminonu and Kabatap to Pendik which is approximately 15 km from the circuit.

Tickets

Tickets for the Turkish Grand Prix can be ordered by email (ticket@turkeygrandprix.com) at the following prices:

Main Grandstand Platinum
Includes: Three day pass, Grandstand Cover, Reserved Seats, Televised Coverage
Adult: €450
Junior: €225

Main Grandstand Gold
Includes: Three day pass, Grandstand Cover, Reserved Seats, Televised Coverage
Adult: €340
Junior: €170

Silver
Includes: Three day pass, Reserved Seats, Televised Coverage
Adult: €280
Junior: €140

Bronze
Includes: Three day pass, Reserved Seats, Televised Coverage
Adult: €160
Junior: €80

General Admission
Includes: Three day pass, Televised Coverage
Adult: €90
Junior: €45

Contact

For information about races or for general enquiries contact Istanbul Park at:

Address: Sogutlucesme cad. No:65 Karatekin Is Mrk. Kat:3 Daire:1 Kadikoy/ Istanbul 81310 Turkey

Email: info@turkeygrandprix.com

Fax: +90 (216) 418 5222

Telephone: +90 (216) 418 4522

Website: Turkey Grand Prix