Istanbul Park

February 9, 2009 by  
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Istanbul Park blends in seamlessly among 10 thousand of years of antiquity. Respectful of the country’s past, yet bold enough to represent the future of Formula One. The circuit was constructed during 2005 and is unique in that the cars run in an anti-clockwise direction around the circuit, making the Turkish Grand Prix only the third race on the F1 Grand Prix calendar to do so (with the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola and the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace at Interlagos being the other two). This spectacular 5.378 kilometer track was designed by famed German architect Herman Tilke, the same man who created the memorable tracks at Sepang, Bahrain and Shanghai.

The track at Istanbul Park has an average width of 15 meters, ranging from 14 to 21.5 meters, and covering over 2.215 million square meters total. There are a total of 14 corners including six right and eight left turns, the sharpest with a radius of merely 15 meters. The circuit runs over four different ground levels with a start/finish straight over 650 meters in length. The total race distance of the Turkish Grand Prix is 309.356 kilometers spread out over 58 laps.

Turn 8 in particular has achieved legendary status in a short amount of time. The corner is a fast, sweeping corner with four apexes, similar to a multi-apex sections of the old Nürburgring. Spectators and drivers alike raved about Turn 8, comparing it to legendary corners such as Eau Rouge and 130R. The circuit itself has already been compared to Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. Another notable corner is Turn 1, a sharp downhill left-hander immediately after the front straight. This corner has been nicknamed by some as the “Turkish Corkscrew” in comparison to infamous “Corkscrew” at Laguna Seca. Both the 2006 F1 and MotoGP races at the circuit featured mutliple incidents at this corner.

Logistically speaking, Istanbul Park currently has a total capacity for 155,000 spectators, which are accommodated in 10 grandstands and 5 unnumbered and grassed general admission areas. Istanbul Park is located on the Asian side of Istanbul, approximately 90 kilometers from the centre of the city.

The Main Grandstand at Istanbul Park is located on the Pits Straight directly opposite the start/finish line and pit-boxes. It presents you with an excellent view of the Pits Straight, including the build-up to and the start of the race, the checkered flag at the finish of the race, as well as a view of the racing teams and their pit activities. The western side of the grandstand is situated opposite the podium, offering spectators great views of the podium celebrations after the race. The start line is located towards the middle of the grandstand. The F1 Village is also located behind this grandstand, which is easily accessible from this grandstand. Three bigscreen TV’s are located along this great grandstand, enabling spectators to follow the entire race and not lose track of the procedures.

Overall the five general admission areas provide for excellent viewing and offer good value for money admission. Istanbul Park is a naturally hilly circuit featuring a variety of steep mounds, which makes the viewing in the general admission areas good. But as always there are no seats and you must be there early to get a good spot, which you stand to lose should you have to visit a toilet or leave to buy food.

Hungarian Grand Prix

February 9, 2009 by  
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The first Hungarian Grand Prix was held in 1936 at a track in Nepliget near central Budapest, and it was well supported by both constructors and fans. Unfortunately, it was the last Grand Prix that the country would see for fifty years. Political upheaval and subsequent war meant that the attention of the Hungarian public and government were turned elsewhere and that it was unsafe to hold a Grand Prix in the country during that time. Despite the untimely start of the Hungarian Grand Prix, it has been a favourite on the Hungarian calendar since 1986 during which time it was noted for being the first race to take place behind the Iron Curtain. It has been held at the twisting Hungaroring track near Budapest ever since being re-established that year, and is today one of the main features on the racing calendar.

The 4.38 kilometre (2.72 mile) track is very narrow and twisty. It is generally used during the dry season and the Hungarian Grand Prix has only had rain on one occasion, in 2006. Because it is often under-utilized, the track tends to be dusty which further adds to its difficulty. Drivers often end up stuck behind one another with little opportunity to pass. Because of this, a good race strategy is key to winning, although some drivers have managed to overtake during the course of some races. Efforts were made to increase the width of the track in 2003 so that more overtaking was possible but the track continues to be an interesting challenge for most Formula One drivers. Because of its relatively short distance, it is lapped 70 times which results in an overall race length of 306.66 kilometres (190.55 miles).

The current track wins record holder is Michael Schumacher who has four Hungarian Grand Prix wins under his belt. The constructor with the most wins is Williams which has enjoyed 7 successes at the track. The track has been the location of a number of notable occasions, including Jenson Button taking first place for Honda, moving up from 14th place on the grid in 2006.

Subsequent wins have been: Lewis Hamilton (2007 and 2009); and Heikki Kovalainen (2008) – both driving for McLaren-Mercedes. The 2010 Hungarian Grand Prix is set to take place from 30 July to 1 August, and it has also been confirmed that this world-class racing facility plans to be part of the F1 racing calendar at least until 2016.

Nürburgring

February 9, 2009 by  
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The Nürburgring, or “The Ring”, is a motor racing track situated in Germany. As a truly impressive Formula One circuit, the Nürburgring winds its way through the beautifully wooded hills of Germany’s Eifel plateau. Based around the town of Nürburg, the unique Nürburgring F1 circuit overlooks the remnants of a medieval castle, providing a challenging circuit in remarkable surroundings which attracts large crowds for every event.

The racing circuit of Nürburg was an idea formulated by Dr. Creutz in the 1920s. The original Ring, called Nordschleife, was opened in 1927 and is still used today. This circuit covered an impressive 14 miles or 22.5 km with 172 corners. Many drivers battled to remember the racing line of the complicated Nordschleife circuit. The Nürburgring was actually made up of two circuits, the Nordschleife and the Sudschleife which joined a the paddock with the pits and grandstand. The old Nürburgring was the site of many impressive races such as the time Jackie Stewart won a race in 1968 whilst his wrist was in plaster and the track was covered with fog. Unfortunately, the old track was plagued by safety issues. In 1976 F1 driver Niki Lauda suffered a bad accident in which he sustained severe burns. At the end of 1976 Nürburgring’s license as an F1 circuit was removed.

Over time the Nürburgring was revamped and the new circuit was opened in 1984 covering 4.556km with 14 turns. During the 1984 inaugural race it was decided that they would pit some of Formula One’s greatest drivers against each other in 20 equal Mercedes 190Es. The line-up of famous drivers included Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Phil Hill, Denny Hulme, Keke Rosberg, James Hunt, John Surtees and Carlos Reutemann. Senna took the lead, beating Lauda by a small margin.

The European Grand Prix was hosted at the Nürburgring F1 track in 1984 and 1985 but not after that due to financial problems. For some time the Nürburgring played no role in Grand Prix, but ran several other events during this time, both on a club and international level. Fans did not abandon the Ring though and turned out in large numbers on race days.

As Michael Schumacher burst onto the F1 scene, Formula One was brought back to the Nürburgring race circuit. The Ring hosted the European GP in 1995 and 1996 and then the new Luxemburg GP in 1997 and 1998. From 1999 through to 2006 it became the resident venue of the European Grand Prix. As of 2007 the Nürburgring Formula One circuit will host the German Grand Prix on alternating years with Hockenheim.

South African Grand Prix

February 9, 2009 by  
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The first South African Grand Prix, took place in 1934, hosted at the Prince George Circuit located in East London, in the Eastern Cape Province. World class drivers such as Dick Seaman, Bernd Rosemeyer and Luigi Villoresi were among the competitors, with Luigi Villoresi winning the South African Grand Prix in 1939.

The start of World War II saw the end of the racing for a time. With South Africa receiving Formula One status in 1962, going on to become a popular event. During to the infamous Apartheid-era in South Africa’s history, the Formula One South African Grand Prix was canceled on many occasions. The very first South African Grand Prix, as part of the Formula One calendar, took place on 29 December 1962. East London, once again, hosted the event and the South African Grand Prix returned to the Prince George Circuit in 1963 and in 1965.

The decision to move the Formula One South African Grand Prix, was made in 1967, and for as long as South Africa remained on the Formula One racing calendar, the Kyalami Circuit in the Gauteng Province (previously known as the Transvaal Province) remained its host. During the years 1962 and 1993, there were 23 Formula One Grand Prix races held at Kyalami Circuit. The Kyalami Circuit takes place over 78 laps, and the total racing distance is 320.112 kilometers.

The fasted lap time was achieved by John Watson in 1977, with a lap time of 1’17.630. This was also a race of great tragedy. A 19 year old student, named Jansen Van Vuuren, together with another mashall, were killed whilst rushing to the aid of Renzo Zorzi, whose Shadow had caught alight, and whilst crossing the track Van Vuuren was struck by Tom Pryce. The impact was so severe it killed both men instantly. Pryces’ injuries were from the fire extinguisher, and Van Vuuren was destroyed by the extreme force of impact. Another tragic loss of life was that of Peter Revson, who died in 1974 during his practice run. The last South African Grand Prix that was held at the Kyalami Circuit was in 1993.

Monaco Grand Prix

February 9, 2009 by  
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The Formula One race that takes place on the streets of the Principality of Monaco, is known as the Monaco Grand Prix, or Grand Prix de Monaco. It has long been one of the most important and prestigious racing events on the Formula One calendar, taking place every year since it’s inception in 1929. It has been ranked with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500. This magnificent Grand Prix, has always been associated with glamor, fame and riches, and people from all over the world gather in Monaco to watch the race.

The very first Formula One Monaco Grand Prix was organized by Antony Noghes, with the year 1929 predating any other organized World Championship. The organization of the race, was overseen by Prince Louis II, with the assistance of the A.C.M (Automobile Club de Monaco). William Grover-Williams (also known as Williams), won the first event, behind the wheel of a Bugatti. His car was painted green, and would become Britain’s color, referred to as ‘racing green’. Grover-Williams, however, is not related to the later Williams teams, in any way. The Grand Prix was associated with the pre-Second World War European Championships, and it also included the very first Formula One World Championship that took place in 1950. It remained associated with the European Championship during the years 1936 to 1939. As part of the emergency protocol, divers are on hand to rescue any drivers that may have the misfortune of landing in the harbor.

Ayrton Senna, from Brazil, had six Grand Prix victories at the Monaco Grand Prix, of which five were consecutive from the year 1989 to 1993. He was given the title of “Master of Monaco”, but his predecessor, Graham Hill, was known as the “King of Monaco”.

Every year, the streets of Monte Carlo and La Condamine, becomes the jewel of the Grand Prix season. The Formula One Monaco Grand Prix consists of 78 laps, that covers a total of 260.25 kilometers. It takes six weeks to construct the circuit, and it has many tight corners, various elevation changes and is, in general, a very narrow course. Nelson Piquet once said, that even though the course is like trying to ride a bicycle in your living room, one win at the Monaco Grand Prix, is equivalent to winning two races on any other circuit.

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