2021 Turkish Grand Prix Tyre Compounds: For the Turkish Grand Prix, which was added to the calendar to replace Singapore this year, the three tyres in the middle of the range have been nominated: C2 is the P Zero White hard, C3 is the P Zero Yellow medium, and C4 is the P Zero Red soft. This is one step softer than the nomination made for the Turkish Grand Prix last year, which was held in November after a nine-year absence from the calendar.
The decision to go one step softer is based on the data collected last year, which demonstrated a track with average levels of abrasion and low grip, resulting in an extremely slippery surface that nonetheless showed rapid track evolution.
The track was entirely re-asphalted just prior to the Turkish Grand Prix last year. Since then, the asphalt may have matured slightly and it’s also been completely cleaned with a high-pressure water jet. So this year drivers should benefit from better grip as a consequence of the softer compounds, higher asphalt roughness, and the likelihood of higher temperatures compared to last year.
Istanbul Park Track Characteristics
- The best-known corner at Istanbul Park is Turn 8, which has been described as one of the great corners in Formula 1. It’s very long, at 640 metres (or 12% of the entire lap) and taken at high speed, with several apexes that place forces peaking at more than 5g on the cars and tyres.
- As a result, Turkey is a tough track for tyres: with plenty of force going through the tyres. The cars consequently run high downforce to help push the tyres onto the ground.
- Many other corners place considerable demands on the tyres as well: Turn 1 is approached with a significant descent before heading uphill, and the back straight also contains a swooping uphill kink nicknamed ‘Faux Rouge’ in homage to Spa. The entire track layout makes plenty of use of the area’s natural elevation.
- This year’s weather remains a question mark, with the race being held more than a month earlier than it was in 2020. With rain dominating proceedings last year, the teams don’t have much relevant tyre data – especially as the softest C4 compound has never been taken to Istanbul before.
- The winning strategy last year, at the grand prix in which Lewis Hamilton won a record-equalling seventh title as well as the race, was a one-stopper with eight laps on the Cinturato Blue full wet followed by 50 laps on the Cinturato Green intermediate. Hamilton was one of only four drivers to stop once, as the majority stopped twice.
Mario Isola – Pirelli Head of F1 and Car Racing
“Turkey was one of the most dramatic and unpredictable races of last season, mostly due to a very slippery track as a consequence of low grip from the new asphalt. The slipperiness of the circuit, exacerbated by the rain, caught many people by surprise, and that’s why this year we’ve opted for a softer tyre nomination, also with the race taking place more than a month earlier, which should result in higher temperatures. Following our tyre nomination, the track has undergone a high-pressure water cleaning process, which should lead to greater roughness and more grip, so there’s also the possibility that with softer compounds we will face higher wear levels compared to last year. That’s something we will only find out when we get there, so the work done in free practice will be very useful. Because everything was so new last year, we took the conservative option of coming with the hardest tyres. Going a step softer this weekend will probably open up the possibility of a few different strategies as well.”