Officially called Intercity Istanbul Park, named after its current owners, is a Grand Prix circuit located near Istanbul on the Asian side of the Bosphorus. The 5,338 kilometer long circuit was completed in 2005 and is considered one of Hermann Tilke's finest creations.
The best from the oeuvre of Hermann Tilke
When Formula 1 came down here right after the circuit opened, Tilke had already made a name for itself with circuits such as Sepang and the newly opened complexes in Bahrain and Shanghai. Not all of these were in good taste, so the bigger was the surprise when the first Turkish Grand Prix was held in Istanbul.
The hilly landscape and the succession of super fast corners reminded a bit of a modern variant of Spa-Francorchamps. Especially turn 8 made an impression, a quadruple turn with each turn getting a little tighter. In the F1 cars of that time, drivers had to have real guts to get off the throttle as little as possible.
The GP of Turkey
To be honest, Istanbul Park, despite its spectacular layout, did not produce any particularly interesting races in the first few years. The first edition in 2005 was an easy prey for Kimi Raikkönen and for the next three years it was the hunting ground of Felipe Massa.
With three victories, the Brazilian is a record holder on this circuit. Somehow he always came out well here. With all those victories he was also allowed to start from pole. After his accident in 2009, the victory in Turkey was split between Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.
The race that Hamilton won in 2010 will always be remembered as the race in which Red Bull Racing teammates Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel clashed for the first time, handing over a victory.
COVID-19 pandemic puts Turkish Grand Prix back on the map
The F1 season 2020, which has to stay close to Europe due to the coronavirus outbreak, offered a chance for forgotten circuits like Istanbul Park to get back on the F1 calendar. The Turkish organizers wanted to celebrate this by offering 100,000 tickets at bargain prices, but unfortunately that party did not take place.
For the fans on the other hand, the action on the track promises a lot of good. Due to the downward pressure generated by the current cars, turn 8 is now easily full throttle, but the g-forces will be immense. The long straightaway between turns 10 and 12, interrupted by the faint turn 11, also makes it easy to overtake.