Turkish GP 2020 - GP preview - Renault F1
After a solid drive in Imola, Daniel Ricciardo made it two podiums in three races. Next up is the fast and thrilling Istanbul Park, a circuit the Australian drove in the wet nine years ago as he seeks to continue his points run.
How much are you looking forward to racing at Istanbul Park?
I can’t wait for Turkey. I’ve only done one session there in Free Practice 1 in 2011 and it was in the wet, so if it’s dry, it’ll basically be a new track for me. It’s an awesome circuit and a lot of fun to drive. It’s going to be pretty cool in a modern Formula 1 car with some fast corners and long periods of time on the throttle. I think it will provide good racing as overtaking should be more straightforward [than Imola]. I think it’s a pretty complete circuit, so I’m certainly looking forward to that. I think full beans around there is going to be awesome. Turn 8 is a great corner, but so is Turn 1, the downhill, unsighted left. It’s really cool!
Has the second podium feeling sunk in?
The second podium felt pretty good again. It’s quite close in succession to the first a couple of weeks ago, so it’s all a bit surreal at the moment. It’s been some ride during the last few weeks and I’ve enjoyed it. With the current situation, it’s not like we can celebrate, but it’s been nice to take it all in. I’m staying focused and not letting it get to me as there are four races to go this season. I’m fourth in the championship, the team is third and I want to keep the train going.
It was an unfortunate retirement in Imola for Esteban Ocon who is more than determined to bounce back in Turkey. The Frenchman has never raced at Istanbul Park but goes there ready to give it his all.
What do you know about the circuit?
Istanbul Park is a new track for me as I’ve never raced there before. I watched all the races when I was younger, and it looks a very impressive track. I remember some awesome racing moments there such as Michael and Fernando at the finish line on the last lap in 2006. It has some very cool corners and it’s a fast and busy lap. It should be exciting in these modern cars. Turn 1 is a downhill corner and it’s quite blind approaching it. There are a number of medium to high-speed corners, and it all flows nicely. Then there’s Turn 8, the triple left-hander. It looked an impressive corner in the old cars, and I think this year it’s going to be even better. I can’t wait to give that a go. Usually on fast tracks we have decent speed, so I think it’s going to be an awesome one to drive and to race with overtaking definitely possible on the straights.
How have you prepared to learn a new track?
I’ve been doing some training on my home simulator to learn the track. There are going to be some challenges such as the elevation changes and blind corners. It’s been resurfaced recently, and we have the harder compound of tyres, like in Portugal, so there could be some low grip during the early part of the weekend. We have limited data to prepare, but we’re back to a normal Friday, so it should be easier to get right than in Imola or Nürburgring. It’s going to be interesting again. We should be in decent shape, like we have been recently, and we go there in good form and ready to perform again. I want to put some of the bad luck behind me and go there targeting a good result.
Chief Race Engineer Ciaron Pilbeam
The team secured its second podium of the season last time out. But with Esteban’s retirement, the team still has areas to improve as Chief Race Engineer Ciaron Pilbeam looks ahead to the Turkish Grand Prix.
What does the team know about Istanbul Park?
Turkey is another circuit that we have been to in the past, but not recently. It has mostly medium-speed corners in the first two sectors, with a long straight leading up to the low speed final sector. There is also the very long and high-speed Turn 8, which places a high strain on the car, tyres and the driver, and which will be faster than ever in the current cars.
What do we expect from the track at this time of year?
As in Portimão, the track has been resurfaced recently, and the hardest three tyre compounds will be used – C1, C2 and C3. This could lead to low grip and a tricky car balance, as it did in Portugal, particularly with the low temperatures that are forecast for the race weekend.
How would you evaluate the team’s current performance?
Our pace has been close to that of our closest competitors recently, and with only one point separating three teams in 3rd – 5th in the Constructors’ Championship. With other teams also well capable of getting into the top ten, we need to get everything that we can out of our car during the run-in to the end of the season.
What are the main assessments from Imola?
Imola was a mixed weekend for us. We were happy with our planning and execution of the event with the reduced weekend format. The car was competitive, and Daniel’s podium was a great result for him and the team. Esteban was also in a good position in the race and could have scored well, but his car had a problem and retired from the race, which was frustrating for everybody. We need to get on top of reliability as every point will count over these last four races in the contest for third in the Constructors’ Championship.
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