F1 Winter Break
Who'll come out on top in Istanbul?
Who'll come out on top in Istanbul?
Posted By:   |  03 Jun 2009   |  9:45 am GMT  |  26 comments

This weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul should see the convergence of several teams at the top, making it a fiercely contested race.
Picture 7

Let me explain what I mean by that. Brawn has been at the peak since the season started, the team to beat, while Red Bull were very close in the early races, but only added their definitive double diffuser aero package to the car for Monaco, where it didn’t really have a chance to show it’s value. Their car has always been good on high speed corners, so in Istanbul they should fly. They have had the chance to challenge Brawn more often than it would appear but they haven’t take their chances, with Sebastian Vettel losing out to KERS cars off the start line in Bahrain and Barcelona and having his race compromised as a result. With a car which should be a match for the Brawn this weekend, if not superior, they can use that to their advantage in defining the best strategy for their drivers.

Likewise Ferrari look like they are getting to their peak performance as well. They have always had a good car, it just lacked downforce. They have steadily added more downforce to the car over the last few events and Istanbul is a track on which they have dominated the last three years, with Felipe Massa. So we can expect them to be on the pace as well. This should, therefore, be a three way fight.

Massa certainly seems to feel he can challenge this weekend. Speaking on the Ferrari website yesterday he said,
“For Istanbul, we will have another small step in terms of aerodynamic development, which should improve the car still further. It will be fantastic if we find we are in a position to fight for the win in Turkey.

“I just like the track and feel comfortable there, but it’s hard to pinpoint why it suits me better than some other circuits. I do prefer fast flowing tracks and have a feel for all the corners here, as it’s not good enough to only be fast over one particular section of the track. I think I’ve also found a good way to set up the car perfectly for this circuit.”

Meanwhile Christian Horner believes that RBR have a great chance in Istanbul.
“This is an important race in the championship and our target is to challenge the Brawns who have had a remarkable run so far. The RB5 will essentially be in the same specification as in Monaco, with a few minor aero updates. the high speed track should be better suited to the strengths of our car. We’ve been competitive at all the circuits so far this season, even though at a couple of races our performance has been compromised by cars equipped with KERS.”

Jenson Button has dropped only four points so far from a maximum of 55, while Brawn GP could break through the 100 points barrier this weekend if they score 14 points. The team has enjoyed three one-two finishes this season.

Brawn is aware that the others are now breathing down their necks and are pushing as hard as their resources allow to keep in front,
“We know that our competitors will be very strong in Turkey this weekend. We will be bringing a new front wing along with some aerodynamic updates and new rear suspension elements,” says Ross Brawn.

Should be an intense weekend..

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Dear James,

do you think Massa can beat the red bulls in qualifying at least???


I saw that quote from Horner earlier today and it seems a bit of an odd comment. If you're getting stuck behind slower cars, KERS or not, then surely that's not an excuse? Getting past slightly slower cars is pretty important if you want to win races, look at Button overtaking Hamilton early on in Bahrain.


Really looking forward to the weekend, seems that it will be between Red Bull and Ferrari so qualifying should be good!

Id say Red bull were favourites for pole, but Massa has always done well.

I'd be really looking forward to the weekend if i was Button or Barichello. A little pressure off as people expect the other teams to be stronger here, and you have Ross Brawn who must be like a pig in muck thinking of race strategy for it.

I predict, 1. Massa 2. Button 3. Barichello

Cant wait!


Indeed it will be a "fiercely contested race" - there's so much talk of Massa maintaining his Turkey winning streak, but the Ferrari chaps will have to pull something out of the bag to get him ahead of both Brawn cars.

That said, if he does - the KERS could really help, as it did with keeping Vettel behind in Spain.

With Istanbul being more overtaking-friendly, it sure will be a good race. I've written the full form-guide for F1 Badger here, have a read, agree with the Badger, James?: http://www.f1badger.com/2009/06/turkey-form-guide/" rel="nofollow">Who's going to taste Turkish Delight this weekend

Loving the work Mr Allen, keep it up!


If I were a betting man I'd have a few quid on Vettel this weekend. I think in the high speed corners the Red Bull really is the car to beat, and this track is 90% high speed bends.

I think Button & Brawn need to firstly get the tyres sorted out as I expect them to play a huge part this weekend. Last year a certain young McLaren driver could only get a decent lap time by trashing his tyres, so much so he had to stop three times. Making good calls on the tyres is all important here.

With the tyres sorted Brawn really need to start looking at how they can ensure they're not baulked by the KERS cars in the first stint. It seems that qualifying light doesn't really help the Brawn a great deal, in the hands of Button with 20 laps of fuel on or 2 laps of fuel on the result seems similar. Numerous times he's commented on it feeling better with that fuel in the back now. I think the bottom rung of the Podium would still be a stonking Result for Button this weekend.


We've had 8 different winners in 8 years, I'll think Button will take it...


I would really love to see the Ferraris taking a fight to the Brawns the weekend. While everyone is writing off the McLarens I do wonder how big an effect KERS will be at this track, and how much that will mitigate their aero problems?

Turkey is a circuit that favours power, downforce and gentle tyre use. Characteristics that basically sum up the strengths of the 248F1, the F2007 and F2008. This year the F60 has reasonable - but not class leading - downforce, but excellent power + KERS, as well as relatively gentle tyre usage characteristics.

The Redbull has oodles of downforce, but maybe merely average power and perhaps uses takes too much out of the tyres. The Brawn is a bit of an all-rounder, good basic power, great downforce and quite benign tyre usage qualities.

It really will be fascinating to see how these slightly different strengths and weaknesses play out this weekend.


I think Kimi Raikkonen will win his first race of the season.


Given that all of the likely front runners stay in touch with the leader during the first part of the race, then the prospects of intense action after the final pitstop look good.

Assuming that the top cars will use the "worst" tyre at the end, then a scenario where Button begins to catch the Ferrari's and RBR's looks likely. RBR's high speed advantage should show stronger here, particularly with their new DD and the KERS shod Ferrari will be hard to beat down the straights. But, but, but ...

... given that Button has proved to be immensely quicker when on the "bad" tyre (Barcelona, consistently around 0.5 secs), then he has to be in with a shout.

Then again, the Brawns are bringing a new front wing and may just zip off into the distance. I prefer the former.


I can't wait for this weekend!

Really interested to see what kind of performance the double diffuser gives for red bull racing, and i'm also similarly interested in ferrari's performance.

Nevertheless, I have $10 down on Mark Webber at bargain odds of 20:1 for the win, and 4:1 for a podium finish.

So Go RBR and Go Mark Webber!


I expect another dull race with Jenson controling it from first to last lap with barrichelo second despite his unimpresive performance...and as usual the others will fight for 3rd to 8th place.


I think that the Red Bull are quite cocky with their statement and I hope that they will be beaten again. We will see how they manage their tires. I will not be surprised if they are forced to use the strategy which Lewis had last year.
I'd love to see a battle between Brawn GP and Ferrari. And I hope that Jenson will win again!


I'm going to say Webber in front from Vettel with either Button or Massa third, depending on how strong the Ferrari is. It's really difficult to say coming off Monaco though, I hope Redbull haven't gone backwards.


The next two races are Redbull's to lose in my opinion. Assuming no funny business with bad starts or collisions in turn 1, this track and the next are Redbull's best chance. I look foward to talking lots of trash with Ferrari's fans who have high hopes also. I just hope Brawn don't spoil the party, they have a bad habit of doing that every dry race so far. I hope that Redbull will get some clear air at the front, and then we can see what they are made of. Maybe Brawn can have some bad luck for a change and someone else can win.


Massa has been talking a lot recently, for me it's a sign of the fact that he feels being challanged a lot more by his team mate this year. I think he fears to be beaten by Kimi actually. If Kimi starts to win again Massa will crack under pressure.


What? oh, racing! I almost forgot. Probably feels good to be analyzing guys in fast cars for a change. KEep up the good work.


Why do people keep on focussing that Vettel got stuck behind a KERS car twice? I'd say his result is hampered a lot more by the fact that he crashed or spun out of the race 3 times already this season.


I believe this race could decide the season. If the Brawn's emerge triumphant again then the Champioship is Jensons to lose.

However, if Redbull and Ferrari edge in front of the Brawns then perhaps Jenson will have a real fight on his hands...

Can't wait!!!


i reckon brawn have now been caught up. RBR and ferrari are as quick on a normal circuit - the double difuser on the RBR will now make them quick than brawn, and massa loves the istanbul track.

i'm looking forward to a vettel - massa - button podium (well ideally, i'd like kubica in third but that's never going to happen!)

button winning everything is getting very stale - especially when it's clearly just down to the car (you don't go from last to first over the winter through suddenly becoming an amazing driver after however many years)


"They have always had a good car, it just lacked downforce."



I can see Kimi Raikkonen winning and Felipe Massa spinning off, as he is starting to feel the pressure that the star man at ferrari is putting him under.

There's 11 races left and the championship is not over. Ferrari will come good, and I expect them to win in Turkey and Silverstone. I can see Kimi winning the championship by 2 points from Jenson Button.


I think Massa will show everyone why he really owns Turkey. None of his team mates have touched him in qualifying and race day.


And it sounds like Michael Schumacher still races there !

Charlie F. Smith

You're a legend Carl. Hope so.


We’ve had 8 different winners in 8 years

Of the Turkish Grand Prix? I don't think so. Its only been held 4 times, with Felipe being the dominant racer.

You must be following F1 in an alternate universe.


Have you watched an F1 race? How do you overtake someone in Barcelona? Bahrain, fair enough it's possible, but even there is very tough if your only a few tenths quicker per lap. You need to be at least half a second quicker to even think about overtaking someone. Button was only able to overtake Lewis because it was the 2nd lap and tyres weren't up to temp yet. Another lap or 2 and he was doomed, but fortunately for him he did that great move and escaped the traffic.

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