This weekend see’s the F1 circus roll into Europe (even though Istalbull Park is in Asia) for the main meat of the season. With the exception of the little trip to Canada, this will see the teams in the motor homes and trucking across the continent until the Autumn. This will be the first major upgrade package that the teams bring, as its the first non flyaway race.
However this weekends action at Istanbull Park could be the last for F1, the Turkish simply dont turn out of the race and the country doesn’t want to pay the high fee’s. Its a shame, the track is already regarded as a vintage track and certainly Tilke’s best. Even the Germans harshest critics have to conceed that the undulating, fast circuit is a classic track including the awesome turn 8. Tilke has made some awful tracks but this is certainly his finest hour and worthy to be mentioned in the same breath as Monaco, Silverstone, Monza, Spa etc.
With this years new rules (which I’ve said far too much about in this blog) it could be a thriller and definatly a tire killer with Pirreli bringing the same compounds as the previous 3 races despite the high tire wear at Turkey. Read on for some catch up and preview stuff.
Normally most of the build up to the first European race is all about the upgrade packages that the teams are bringing and them talking up how it will get them X number of places up the grid. This has been scuppered somewhat by Williams being in all sorts of disarray. Sam Micheal is leaving at the end of year as is Jon Tomlinson (Chief Aerodynamicist) , Patrick Head is retiring and Adam Parr even tried to leave. The team will bring in disgraced designer Mike Couglan from McLaren (before he was booted and banned for 2 years due to the 2007 spygate scandle) to replace the outgoing team.
To be honest Williams are looking in danger of falling into the clutches of Team Lotus if they dont pick up thier game, its been the squads worst start to a season ever in their history (which is one of the longest in F1). It remains to be seen how the year is going to pan out for the team.
Ferrari are the main front running team talking about upgrades having had a major issue translating wind-tunnel data into real world performance. The scuderia bring new wings and brake ducts to try and get in back up to the very sharp end of the grid. Mercedes and Renault will also have major updates, the latter being famous for its in-season development work and could see them propelled onto the podium this weekend.
However the biggest amount of fighting talk comes from the Formula B grid (are lotus still there?) of the 3 new teams from last year. Team Lotus have few upgrades this weekend, waiting instead for Barcelona to bring their blown floor diffuser among other upgrades but the high tire wear of Istanbull Park should suit thier 2011 challenger. Virgin bring their first upgrade package which they started work on in Feb after realising the VR-02 wasn’t up to the task, but even HRT have been getting in on the action with an upgrade this weekend that they say could see them relegate Virgin to the bottom of the grid!!
Ladies and gentlemen start your engines! F1 is back in Europe!