Turkey joined the Formula 1 calendar in 2005 and the Istanbul Park circuit has provided plenty of drama and excitement ever since. With its challenging mix of corners and changes in elevation, drivers and fans love the Turkish Grand Prix. Read on for everything you need to know about attending the race.
Located just outside Istanbul, the Turkish Grand Prix provides F1 with a foothold in this passionate racing country. The exciting races at Istanbul Park have produced surprise winners and memorable moments over the years. Experience it yourself with this guide.
History of the Turkish Grand Prix
The first Turkish Grand Prix was held in 2005 at the newly built Istanbul Park circuit. The state-of-the-art facility was constructed in just under 2 years and featured one of Hermann Tilke’s most acclaimed track designs.
Felipe Massa took pole for Ferrari but it was Kimi Raikkonen who triumphed, leading a McLaren one-two finish. The Finn held off a charging Juan Pablo Montoya to secure the inaugural victory.
Over the next few years, the Turkish Grand Prix established itself as a firm fixture on the calendar. Memorable races included Lewis Hamilton storming through the field in 2010 and Sebastian Vettel’s first ever Grand Prix win in 2009.
The event ran every year until 2011 when it was dropped from the calendar. After an eight year break, F1 returned to Turkey in 2020 for a one-off event amidst an altered calendar. Lewis Hamilton took victory in a wet and wild race. The event was staged for the last time in 2021 when it replaced the cancelled Singapore Grand Prix.
Istanbul Park’s combination of challenging corners and passionate local support have made the Turkish Grand Prix a popular event for drivers and fans alike.
Turkish Grand Prix Circuit
Officially called Intercity Istanbul Park, the circuit is located in Tuzla, east of Istanbul. Designed by Hermann Tilke, the track layout incorporates excellent examples of his trademark sweeping bends and heavy braking zones.
At 5.3km in length, the clockwise track has several key sections:
– Turn 8 – A long, sweeping left hander taking courage to keep the speed up through the corner.
– Turn 1 – A sharp downhill braking zone entering the first of two sections inside the oval.
– Turn 12 – Entering the second infield section, this is a tight left-right chicane.
The varied mix of high speed and low speed corners provides multiple overtaking opportunities. The long back straight features DRS and the hairpin at Turn 12 is another prime passing place.
Elevation change is a key feature of Istanbul Park. Turn 8 in particular drops away sharply, making judging braking points very difficult. When it rains, as it often can in Turkey, the track becomes extremely tricky.
Winners of the Turkish Grand Prix
|Red Bull Racing
Of the current drivers, only Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have won the Turkish Grand Prix. Both McLaren and Ferrari have strong records at Istanbul Park.
Fan Guide to the Turkish Grand Prix
Getting to the Turkish Grand Prix
Istanbul is Turkey’s largest city and is easily accessed from destinations across Europe and worldwide. International visitors will arrive via Istanbul Airport (IST) which has connections to hundreds of global cities.
From the airport you can reach Istanbul Park via taxi or local bus, with a travel time of around one hour. Staying in central Istanbul is recommended, as the circuit is 35km from the city.
Inside the city, you can use Istanbul’s modern metro system, ferries crossing the Bosphorus and trams to move around. Getting to the circuit will be quicker if you stay near the metro for ease of access.
Turkish Grand Prix Tickets
Tickets for the Turkish Grand Prix usually go on sale 6-8 weeks in advance via the official Formula 1 ticketing website. The event provides an affordable and exciting race weekend. Let’s hope it returns to the calendar sooner rather than later.