Mercedes explain the challenge of Istanbul’s turn eight

2011 Turkish Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Istanbul, 2010

In a single lap of Istanbul Park one corner accounts for 40% of the energy put through the tyres.

It is, of course, the 270kph, triple-apex turn eight.

Mercedes issued a Q&A explaining some of the remarkable facts and figures behind one of the most famous corners in F1:

Turn eight is the longest corner of the season. What are the key facts?
Turn eight is 640m long – which equates to 12 per cent of the total lap distance of 5.338km – and lasts for 8.5 seconds, equivalent to 10% of the current lap record of 1’24.770 set in 2005.

Drivers generally take three apexes, the slowest of which is at 260 kph, with an average corner speed of 270 kph.

How does this compare to the other longest and fastest corners of the season?
Turn eight presents a unique combination of very high speeds and sustained load.

In terms of time spent in the corner, the cornering phase through turns one and two in Shanghai totals 8.7s – which exceeds Turn eight – but during deceleration rather than at sustained high speed.

The Parabolica at Monza lasts for 7.6s, and Barcelona’s turn three for 7.4s. In terms of speed, comparable corners are 130R at Suzuka (3.7s, 315m) and Copse at Silverstone (3s, 240m) – both have a duration of less than half that of turn eight.

In terms of distance, the season’s next longest corners are Parabolica at Monza (470m) and Spa’s Pouhon (460m) – both are over 25% shorter than turn eight.

What G-forces do the drivers experience in Turn eight?
The peak G-force is 5G, while a level of 4.5G is sustained for two seconds. The average G-force in the corner is 3.5G.

What demands does this place on the tyres?
Turn eight is the most demanding corner of the season in terms of tyre energy. Although it represents just 12% of the total lap distance, this corner alone accounts for approximately 40% of the total tyre energy during the lap at Istanbul Park. Of the car’s four corners, the right-hand front tyre is worked hardest.

What loadings are the cars subjected to in the corner?
The peak suspension loadings through the corner are over 10,000 Newtons – equivalent to a force of 1,000kg, or over 150% the total car weight. The average loading on the right-hand front is 7,000N.

The corner also imposes vertical G-forces owing to the bumpy surface between the first and second apexes: the variation between +0.5G and -0.8G feels harsh to the drivers.

How does car set-up take account of the corner?
Car set-up must take this corner into specific consideration, notably in terms of tyre camber settings and ride heights, particularly at the rear of the car.

What do the drivers think of the corner?
For seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, the corner is “not particularly difficult to drive but one of the season’s longest and pretty fast.”

Performance in the corner is car-dependent: “It’s very heavy on the tyres, and the way you drive the corner largely depends on the car and how you have set it up. That compromise might make it tricky, so we need to wait and see how it goes.”

In contrast, team mate Nico Rosberg finds it “one of the most challenging corners of the year” owing to the high speed and prolonged G-loadings. “If I had to create fantasy Formula One circuit, this corner would definitely be included!”

2011 Turkish Grand Prix

    Browse all 2011 Turkish Grand Prix articles

    Image © Mercedes

    Author information

    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

    Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

    39 comments on “Mercedes explain the challenge of Istanbul’s turn eight”

    1. 40%


      1. Makes you wonder what the Osterreichring must’ve been like for tyres…

        1. Completely different set of tyres probably!

          1. unnnococooc
            3rd May 2011, 11:14

            The renault should shine here.

            The Renault car this year is best at looking after its tyres as noted by both the team and pundits like Brundle and co.

            1. Better than Sauber?

        2. Solid rubber!

    2. I find it interesting that Pirelli experimented with a special “extra hard” compound designed specifically for Istanbul – but have decided not to run it. Given the degradation of the tyres that we’ve seen and the way one corner puts 40% of the lap’s loading on the tyres, Istanbul could be hell.

      1. Wasn’t that meant to be mainly for next year? And their test in Turkey was wet almost all week, wasn’t it.

        But it sure shows how this is a special corner, would be a shame to lose it.

        1. Given the timing I’m sure they were trying to get it ready for this year.

        2. They were experimenting with extra hard tyres during Friday practice sessions. The plans were dropped shortly after they were introduced.

          It is a special corner and it would indeed be a shame to lose it, but there is hope – one of the corners at CotA is directly modelled on Turn Eight … only harder. It’s downhill, off-camber, tightens as it goes, has the smallest amount of run-off that the FIA permits (Tavo Hellmund has said tha if he had his way, there would be no run-off at all), and the drivers constantly accelerate through it (unlike Istanbul, where the speed is fairly constant).

          1. Lets hope those sequences work out in real driving. It might be a really great track they are building in Austin.

            As for the tyres, you are probably right they were preparing for this year.
            Mabye Pirelli saw enough at the first GPs to be confident it will be 4 stop maximum with the hards and cancelled that special tyre build.

          2. It tightens but they accelerate through it? Do they start at slow speed or something?

        3. A real shame to lose it indeed. I love Istanbul Park!

      2. This extra hard tyre is designed probably for Canada. Be ready for 6 pit stops!!!!!

        1. No. The extra hard was only ever planned for Turkey because of the high loads placed upon it. The degradation in Montreal last year was a result of the surface (because the city frequently freezes in the winter, the surface is non-porous to prevent water from seeping in, expanding at low temperatures and breaking the tarmac up), and not because of the physical loads placed on the tyres that the teams will experience in Istanbul.

    3. That’s actually really interesting, accounting for 40% of tyre wear, should be interesting this year – especially with Red Bull and McLaren as they will no doubt be able to take it flat so it will be interesting to see if the team make them lift to preserve their tyres. Could see a mixed up result if the midfield teams like Sauber can repeat their fantastic tyre preservation we’ve seen so far this season.

      1. I wonder if Mclaren can now take in flat along with RBR (Ferrari and Williams with there new package ;-) ).

        RBR were the only ones flat last year by quite a margin.

        1. We’ll probably see the RedBull flexi front wing touch the tarmac given the speed/load. Hopefully it finally gives them a disadvantage.

    4. 40%?

      how many laps can the option tyre survive? 3 laps?

      1. It has nothing to do with grip. It’s the lateral forces exerted on the tyre that is the problem. They affect the sidewalls of the tyre in particular. The experimental extra hard concept was designed with a more rigid sidewall in mind, one that could survive the forces being placed upon it. Pirelli evidently feel that their current line-up of tyre compounds are durable enough to withstand the circuit’s characteristics.

        1. Actually the sides should be less hard to cope with the forces better. At least that’s one of the reasons why the Bridgestones lasted much longer.

    5. I like Peter Windsors describing how different drivers take turn 8 (and importantly turn 9 after it) in Turkey on his blog.

      Very nice reading and fits the context. Seems Schu is not that special in turn 8 and often got carried away, while Rosberg works it very nice.

      Also wonderfull driving from Massa through there, I hope he can be right in the mix again next weekend.

      1. Have you got a link for that BasCB? Sounds good..

          1. It says Massa will perform well if he’s good, but let’s remeber last year Ferrari struggled and Felipe couln’t show his qualities there.

          2. A lot of people criticise Peter Windsor – particularly for his role in USF1 (but he was in charge of sponsorship and couldn’t do anything until Ken Anderson completed designs of the car) – but when he produces blog entries like this, some of the suff he has to say is really intelligent. Like that bit about drivers taking not only the shortest line through turn ten, but also minimising the amount of cutting across the road they employ. I think Windsor is a lot like James Allen: he takes flak from all corners for previous episodes (some richly deserved, some not), but when he gets a format like this where he can take his time, his value as a journalist becomes apparent quite readily.

      2. Funny i thought michael out qaulified nico there last year.

    6. 40%. That’s mad. I have a feeling Massa will have a decent weekend again.

      1. I have a feeling he’ll have a strong weekend. :D

    7. Wow! Just wow! Such a shame this circuit might not be on the calendar in a few years.

      This is a great advert for people who aren’t into F1, to show them what F1 is about. It’s not just driving around like in a computer game. It’s about being an astronaut!

    8. a there she is again, turn 8! I expect to hear much “at turn 8” in the TV coverage this weekend.

      I wonder if every driver will tame it, and which rookie is the best at turn 8 of course.

    9. I knew the load on the tyres would be high for Turn 8 but 40% surprises me!

      Qualifying is going to be really good this weekend I think. The drivers can perhaps afford to be a little easier going into Turn 8 during the race but I think it could throw up a couple of surprises on the grid.

      Can’t wait for this weekend :D

    10. I first appreciated turn 8 whilst driving in Racedriver:GRID a few years ago. Until then it was all pundit talk, but when you are trying to get your car round at pretty much top speed flat out, you realise how tricky the corner really is.
      In a 2007 formula one car (mod) in Race07, which I consider to be more realistic than any other driving game, going round flat is possible, but just plain difficult. It’s all about entry angle, suspension loading and tyre/wheel camber and rid heaights. So much for engineers to consider, and then making a setup JUST for turn 8 would be suicide. With the current state of affairs, it wouldn’t surprise me this year to have some non-front running cars going round turn 8 a bit faster than their immediate rivals, leaving disparancies between teams around different parts of the circuit (read: lots of overtaking yay) having comprimised their setup just for this corner, or vice versa.
      God i love F1

    11. Michael Schumacher, the corner is “not particularly difficult to drive but one of the season’s longest and pretty fast.”

      Well it wouldn’t be at the speed he took it last year.

      1. Icemangrins
        3rd May 2011, 18:20

        doesn’t matter, he finished 4th

    12. Car set-up must take this corner into specific consideration, notably in terms of tyre camber settings and ride heights, particularly at the rear of the car.

      Probably the rear of the car should be not so high… Probably an alert for the bulls LOL

      1. well actually the opposite is true. the rake, or extra rake that the red bulls have gives them superior stability at high speed, and as the car is loaded by the aerodynamics, having a higher rear end actually helps, as it’s the rear end that will drop most at high speed.
        in short, the rake reduces around turn 8, so at top speed/G, the red bulls are running at an advantageous level at the back.

    13. two new words for me in this article: tyre camber and tyre energy(i didnt know red bull is making tires too)

    14. Do we think any cars will be able to take it flat this year, bearing in mind the ‘lack’ of downforce. Only car so far has been the Rb6.

    Comments are closed.