Apart from the excitement that it’ll rain again this Sunday, there’s more to look forward to before the cars actually roll out on the 5.3 km long Intercity Istanbul Park.
New medical car crew for the Turkish GP
Safety first, remember? Medical car driver Alan van der Merwe and medical delegate Ian Roberts, tested positive for Covid in the pre-event tests. And as we know that no race starts unless there’s a medical car following the pack for the opening lap, we’ll see a different duo behind the wheels this weekend.
As a replacement, the FIA has brought in Formula E’s Safety Car driver Bruno Correia and Medical Delegate Dr Bruno Franceschini. However, the old crew will be back if they test negative before the United States GP.
Red Bull’s Honda tribute livery
Turkish GP will see a new addition to the one-off livery list this season. But this time, it’s a little bittersweet. The news of Honda leaving F1 as an engine supplier, came back in 2020. However, with only few races to go, the world championship contending power unit will soon bid farewell.
The sweet part? The link between the Japanese manufacturer and Red Bull will not totally end. Honda will become the helping hand for Red Bull and AlphaTauri in 2022.
The help includes – assisting in building power units (before Red Bull Powertrains takes full responsibility from 2023), providing trackside and race operation support, taking employees of Honda’s UK base etc.
So the new livery is a way of saying thanks to Honda. Also, it’s for the Japanese fans as the Suzuka GP, the home race for Honda, got cancelled due to the pandemic.
Podium of last year’s Turkey GP
Istanbul not only sealed the 2020 championship for Lewis Hamilton but also gifted Lance Stroll with his first pole position of F1. The Canadian, like few other drivers on the grid, is known for his performance when the tracks are wet. His teammate of Racing Point from last year, Sergio Perez came second on the race day.
On the other hand, Stroll’s present teammate at Aston Martin – Sebastian Vettel also took a shocking podium place when he passed Charles Leclerc on the final corner. Will the circumstances again fall in their favour or it’ll bring more new faces on the podium?
Weather and Tyre compounds
Last year’s November race at Istanbul saw the hardest of tyres running on the asphalt. This was due to the uncertainty behind what the track will offer as it provided the challenge of low grip.
But now after being cleaned with high-pressure water jet treatment and the race being held a month earlier than last year, the grip is likely to increase. And to welcome the warm temperature, softer tyres are introduced this time. However, with rain in the forecast, it’ll be interesting to look at the strategies of the teams.
Though Mercedes leads from Red Bull by 33 points, in the Drivers’ Championship it’s only 2 points which separate Hamilton from Verstappen. The Dutchman turned his P20 (due to engine penalty) at Sochi to P2, increasing his chances for regaining the top spot this weekend.
However, with McLaren putting in a solid performance race after race, they have the potential to steal the points and throw the top teams in a frenzy. And not only the papaya team but others from the midfield too can do the job.
So who will dominate? The drivers or the track? Or the nature will throw an ace?
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