Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Istanbul Park, 2020

Drivers concerned Istanbul’s new surface will be as gripless as Algarve’s

2020 Turkish Grand Prix

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Formula 1 drivers expect they will have to contend with a slippery track surface for the second time in three races this weekend.

The series is holding its first race at Istanbul Park since 2011. New asphalt has been laid in preparation, as was also the case at Autodromo do Algarve three weeks ago.

Drivers found little grip on the ‘green’ track surface in Portugal. Following their track walks this morning, several said they expect Istanbul’s new surface to be very similar.

Alexander Albon was among those who compared the new surface to the Algarve circuit. “On the track walk it looked really, really dirty. It kind of reminds me of Portimao a little bit with these newly resurfaced circuits that we’re going to.

“I thought they were going to bed it in because obviously, in Portimao, drivers complained that there was such low grip. So I thought the plan was to drive around a bit before we came here. But I don’t know if they’ve done that because I saw the Safety Car go around this morning and it looked slippery.”

Carlos Sainz Jnr also expects grip will be at a premium on the freshly-laid track. “It looks very new out there,” said the McLaren driver, “it looks very slippery again, this new surface.

“But from what I’ve seen on the track, the track layout is obviously still the same. The corners and shapes are still as they were ten years ago and that’s going to make it hopefully the same experience and as fun to watch as it was to allow us to drive.”

Very few major races have taken place at the circuit since F1 last races at it nine years ago. But Esteban Ocon is impressed with its standard of upkeep and optimistic the track will produce an eventful race.

“I just walked it the track, it’s very well maintained,” said Ocon. “There’s new Tarmac, which could make things interesting as well.”

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2020 Turkish Grand Prix

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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7 comments on “Drivers concerned Istanbul’s new surface will be as gripless as Algarve’s”

  1. Seems to me that new, slippery surfaces offer a lot to the fans. The teams lack data on tyre wear so strategies can get mixed up in quali and the race. Driving mistakes are more common, so good drivers get a chance to shine. Track evolution over the weekend adds another layer of unpredictability.

    All of those add reasons to watch and all of those will annoy the engineers and drivers who strive for perfection and consistency – which is why they have comments or maybe even concern about the low grip.

    1. Yes, it does seem to be a bit of a pre for the fans.

    2. Totally agree. So to the drivers, all I can say is “Oh boo hoo”
      :)

    3. undoubtedly. Not sorry for the drivers at all. surely most have learnt from Portimão, strategy is probably more straight forward yet racing hopefully won’t be, I for one have not fond memories of this track, massa borefests, empty stands, drama over substance.

    4. New surfaces are great in terms of not having data. But they haven’t raced these cars here so it’s a moot point anyway. I’d say the opposite. Lack of grip is costing us viewers. It removes any option of multiple lines through corners or sections completely. On a green track it only rubbers in on the racing line. So forget about braking and passing manoeuvres.

  2. More tyre talks from the drivers then. Lovely.

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