Analysis: The magic of Turn 8
Although the Turkish Grand Prix is a relatively new addition to the calendar, its Turn 8 has already found an entry into Formula 1 folklore as one of the best corners of the season.
The high-speed triple apex turn challenges cars, drivers and tyres to the limits - and will once again be a focus of attention at Istanbul this weekend thanks to Pirelli's first event at the venue.
Ahead of the grand prix, Mercedes GP has issued a statistical analysis of the corner - which highlights just how impressive the corner is, and how it compares with other famous turns on the calendar like 130R at Suzuka or Pouhon at Spa-Francorchamps.
Turn Eight is the longest corner of the season. What are the key facts?
Turn Eight is 640m long - which equates to 12 per cent of the total lap distance of 5.338 km - and lasts for 8.5s, equivalent to 10% of the current lap record of 1:24.770 set in 2005. Drivers generally take three apexes, the slowest of which is at 260 km/h, with an average corner speed of 270 km/h.
How does this compare to the other longest and fastest corners of the season?
Turn Eight presents a unique combination of very high speeds and sustained load. In terms of time spent in the corner, the cornering phase through Turns one and two in Shanghai totals 8.7s - which exceeds Turn Eight - but during deceleration rather than at sustained high speed. The Parabolica at Monza lasts for 7.6s, and Barcelona's Turn Three for 7.4s. In terms of speed, comparable corners are 130R at Suzuka (3.7s, 315m) and Copse at Silverstone (3s, 240m) - both have a duration of less than half that of Turn Eight. In terms of distance, the season's next longest corners are Parabolica at Monza (470m) and Spa's Pouhon (460m) - both are over 25% shorter than Turn Eight.
What G-forces do the drivers experience in Turn Eight? The peak G-force is 5G, while a level of 4.5G is sustained for two seconds. The average G-force in the corner is 3.5G.
What demands does this place on the tyres?
Turn Eight is the most demanding corner of the season in terms of tyre energy. Although it represents just 12% of the total lap distance, this corner alone accounts for approximately 40% of the total tyre energy during the lap at Istanbul Park. Of the car's four corners, the right-hand front tyre is worked hardest.
What loadings are the cars subjected to in the corner?
The peak suspension loadings through the corner are over 10,000N - equivalent to a force of 1,000kg, or over 150% the total car weight. The average loading on the right-hand front is 7,000N. The corner also imposes vertical G-forces owing to the bumpy surface between the first and second apexes: the variation between +0.5G and -0.8G feels harsh to the drivers.
How does car set-up take account of the corner?
Car set-up must take this corner into specific consideration, notably in terms of tyre camber settings and ride heights, particularly at the rear of the car.
What do the drivers think of the corner?
For seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, the corner is "not particularly difficult to drive but one of the season's longest and pretty fast." Performance in the corner is car-dependent: "It's very heavy on the tyres, and the way you drive the corner largely depends on the car and how you have set it up. That compromise might make it tricky, so we need to wait and see how it goes." In contrast, team-mate Nico Rosberg finds it "one of the most challenging corners of the year" owing to the high speed and prolonged G-loadings. "If I had to create a fantasy F1 circuit, this corner would definitely be included!"