Formula 1 teams are expecting greater levels of grip at this year’s Turkish Grand Prix in the wake of last season’s struggles at Istanbul Park.
Turkey was drafted into the schedule in 2020 as part of a heavily overhauled calendar because of the pandemic.
Istanbul Park had not been used for world championship level events for several years and as a result officials opted to resurface the track ahead of Formula 1’s return.
Drivers encountered little grip during Friday’s dry-weather running, with lap times seconds off what had been predicted, while cool and wet conditions accentuated matters further across the rest of the weekend.
But work undertaken at Istanbul Park since last year’s event, in conjunction with the natural evolution of the tarmac, should aid matters for this weekend’s round.
Pirelli has also gone one step softer with its compounds for Formula 1’s return this weekend, with the C2s, C3s and C4s available.
“I think we’ve now got a good understanding of the track,” said Aston Martin Performance Director Tom McCullough. “As for the tarmac this year, let’s find out when we get there.
“Recently, the FIA sent out the usual pre-race document to the teams and told us that the entire track surface has been treated to increase the grip level.
“First of all, ageing a year helps it, and additional water blasting undertaken by the circuit is also beneficial.
“The hardest thing when we’re doing our offline simulations and simulator work is to know the grip level of the track. That determines what you do, how you operate the tyres, what downforce and drag level you run, etcetera.
“So that’s where we’re at the moment and we’ve just got to go there open-minded.
“And that’s the big question mark, really. It’ll probably rattle out in largely the average pace order of this year if people get all their ducks in a row.
“But if they don’t, then we’ll try and seize the opportunity.”
Aston Martin, under its Racing Point guise, performed strongly at last year’s round, with Lance Stroll claiming pole position and Sergio Perez taking second in the race.
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