A Lap of Istanbul Park

LAP OF THE TRACK with Alex Wurz

"Istanbul Park is a challenging track from a set-up point of view because of the variation in corner speeds and grip levels.

"There are the very fastchanges in direction at the start of the lap, there's a long straight and then some slower stuff at the end of the lap, which makes set-up a compromise. The asphalt also changes a lot around the lap: it feels very slippery in the last sector and then you have a lot of grip in the first sector.

"People talk a lot about the long Turn 8. For me, it's just bumpy and a neck-killer; it's not a place where going haywire gives you a lot of lap time because that's never the case in fast corners.

"Our minimum apex speedis about 250kph (155mph), and if you get it right, the biggest reward youhave is showing the data to your engineer. The flip side of going too hard through here is that you might destroy your right-front tyre over a longstint.

 "For me, the biggest challenge of Turkey - apart from the traffic going intoIstanbul - is the last section of the lap. The last three corners are veryslow, all about 80kph (50mph) in second gear, and they're all inter-linked.

"If you make a tiny mistake under braking for the third-to-last corner, yourtrack position for the entire complex is wrong, and that can affect yourspeed as you accelerate onto the start-finish straight. You also have to bedisciplined because it's very easy to over-drive.

"Istanbul itself is a cool city. I've been there a few times and there are amazing places to go out, and great things to see. The Bosphorus is spectacular; if you're going to the race, you should make a point of looking at it and feeling its history."