Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Istanbul Park, 2020

Istanbul used same treatment as Singapore to improve track surface

2021 Turkish Grand Prix

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The track surface at Istanbul Park has been treated to improve grip levels ahead of the next round of the Formula 1 championship following the problems drivers encountered last year.

The Turkish venue was resurfaced ahead of F1’s return in 2020. However the late completion of the work meant the surface was not up to typical grip levels in time for the event. Persistent rain added to the problem and drivers criticised the slippery surface they encountered during the race.

Since then the circuit has been treated using a “water blasting” method familiar from the Marina Bay circuit in Singapore, explained F1 race director Michael Masi.

“We do regularly, each season, send an update to the teams of any circuit changes for upcoming events, be they barriers, fences, gates, whatever it may be, areas of resurfacing,” he said.

“The surface in Turkey has been effectively water-blasted, that probably would be the best way to put it. [This] is a regular treatment that happens, we’ve seen it regularly used in Singapore as an example where the public roads that are used, they resurface quite regularly because of the movement. So that’s what’s happened there, along with a few other changes.”

The problems drivers encountered in last November’s race “was just a matter of timing”, said Masi.

“I think we said that at the time that it was just literally a matter of timing and they’ve rectified it accordingly.”

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Dieter Rencken
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15 comments on “Istanbul used same treatment as Singapore to improve track surface”

  1. Good move.

  2. 2020 was that special because of the rain, I doubt we would have had anywhere near that amount of chaos on the dry

    1. @paeschli No if you remember cars were sliding around in the dry as if it was wet because of the oily asphalt

    2. @paeschli The dry running we saw in FP1/FP2 last year was just as bad as the wet in terms of grip with some cars spinning or just going off track at what looked like 5mph because how how little grip it was producing. It was just way worse when it rained.

      Problem was the track surface was laid down so late that it hadn’t had time to properly settle. It was super smooth which wasn’t allowing the tires to grip into it or get any rubber laid down. Additionally a lot of the oils they use in the tarmac mix were coming upto the surface in places & making sections more like an ice ring. They tried washing the track surface to clear the oils but it just made things worse as it brought more of the oils to the surface (Especially at turn 1).

      1. Here is a lap with hamilton from fp1 last year.

  3. There was nothing wrong with the surface. F1 should have different types of tarmac and in different conditions – anything that isn’t inherently unsafe should be encouraged.
    If the drivers don’t like it – stiff. It’s the same for everyone. They can always slow down.

    And from the viewer’s perspective – it makes it a lot more interesting when cars are sliding and squirming around. F1 has lost that aspect, and it contributes directly to the perception that modern F1 cars are dull and easy to drive.
    Just look at how great the on-boards from the 80’s and 90’s were – so much car movement and driver input/reaction.

    1. I agree, it was great to see the drivers work, try different lines etc. I’m sure you could say that it was a lottery in a sense but I thought skill was always going to win the day. And it was safe, as safe as F1 can be. Max trying the dark patches and facing the wrong way very quickly. Lance’s brilliant run, until it wasn’t.

      Perhaps if I want to see people correct oversteer I should watch Rallycross. But even if it was a one off, I really enjoyed watching F1 drivers doing it, and occasionally getting it wrong. I thought it was a great race.

    2. I was recently just watching Alonso’s onboard from the 2014 British GP, and he was fighting the car as much as any 90s car. The 2017 regulations really are what has made the cars basically on rails.

    3. Though having had last years race and a year to think on it, even if it hadn’t changed all teams (Haas maybe?) would have been much better prepared, so we wouldn’t have last years spectacle; probably would have become boring :)

    4. The problem is you don’t want ‘drivers been tested’ to result in them looking stupid due to the track surface been so unsuitably bad they are spinning with zero grip at what looks like 5mph which is what we had at times last year.

      It’s hard for F1 to push itself as the pinnacle of the sport with the fastest cars & best drivers when what viewers are seeing is them all flying off the road at slow speed because of a rubbish track surface.

      Additionally i’d argue that the resurface last year took away a lot of the character & real challenge that the bumpy, rougher old surface had. Replacing that with a surface so smooth & unsuitable that cars were spinning at what looked like 5mph wasn’t a good upgrade imo or a better challenge, It just ruined the spectacle for me as we couldn’t see the drivers pushing to the limits with turn 8 in particular becoming a lesser corner than it once was in the dry due to that.

      Even Croft & Johnny Herbert who would usually be talking up those sort of conditions as ‘amazing’ were both saying it wasn’t good. That tell’s you all you need to know about how bad it was.

      1. If drivers are spinning or flying off the track at what looks like 5mph, then it shows that maybe they are overhyped and not up to the challenge. They need to refine their skills and learn from their mistakes.
        I’d suggest that F1 doesn’t need to push itself as the pinnacle of anything, but rather simply needs to show it. Winning the WDC and WCC should be the most difficult and complex challenge to conquer in all of motorsport if it is to be what some people say it is – the “pinnacle.” That includes not just perfect conditions, but imperfect and otherwise undesirable ones as well.

        The bumps – yes, there should be bumps. Each circuit should have it’s own unique, imperfect character – and lower friction factors are equally desirable as bumps, profiles, cambers and radii.

        Crofty’s and Herbert’s opinions are just that – nothing more, nothing less. I don’t pay much attention to them, and they aren’t any more important than anyone else’s.
        To be perfectly honest, as a (reasonably knowledgeable) viewer I found that to be one of the most interesting F1 events to watch from the last 20 years – not because it looked fast, but because it looked difficult. Different cars and drivers were able to show their individual strengths and weaknesses, and it wasn’t all about which team made the fastest car for a change.
        Until it started to dry up, anyway.

  4. Portimão was fine a year after resurfacing. A year of natural water blasting wouldn’t do?

  5. Racefans so slow… I read about this elsewhere on Thurs 30th Sept…

    1. By one day for a not exactly earth-shattering news story? I can live with that for a website with a very small team.

  6. Was it really a problem? Quite an exciting weekend last year if I remember correctly :P

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