Istanbul Park’s return to Formula 1 after nine years was characterised by slippery new asphalt and a slightly damp surface in FP1, with cool track temperatures of less than 20 degrees centigrade in FP2. This made it hard to find grip and caused plenty of sliding, with some graining mainly on soft. Tyre wear and degradation was extremely low.
As a result, the lap times remained slower than was expected from the predicted simulations supplied by the teams.
All three compounds were tested, with the teams mostly running the P Zero White Hard tyre in the morning, before completing the afternoon runs on the Red soft tyre, having also used the Yellow medium in FP2.
The estimated performance gap between the tyres is quite closely matched: around 0.9 seconds between the soft and medium, and 0.8 seconds between medium and hard.
Mario Isola: “The new asphalt at Istanbul Park, which is less than two weeks old, proved to be extremely slippery. In fact, we expected something more similar to Portugal, but in fact it was quite different with very little grip. There was a high amount of track evolution despite having no support races here. On top of that, the track surface was washed overnight, leading to some areas that were slightly damp this morning. We saw a bit of graining on the soft as expected in these extreme conditions due to the cars sliding; this situation should improve during the weekend as more rubber gets laid down, drivers get more heat into their tyres, and the track continues to evolve. However, we need to keep an eye on the weather too; there’s a possibility of rain at some point during the weekend that could reset the track conditions and add to what is already a very big challenge.”
Check out our Friday gallery from Istanbul, here.