Talking about them will already give fans goose bumps: Eau Rouge, Copse, Casino Square… all legendary corners that, as the saying goes, “sort the men from the boys”.
They make or destroy legends; races and even championships have been won or lost because of them. Mastering them is all about finding the balance between set-up, pace, the right line and, well, a bit of much-needed self-confidence! In recent history, few corners deserved to join this legendary elite group as much as Istanbul Park’s Turn Eight.
8.5 seconds of “pedal to the metal”
Since Istanbul’s first appearance on the Formula One calendar in 2005, the longest corner of the season has already made quite a name for itself. Turning left through approximately 200 degrees, this 640m corner has become a firm favourite amongst Formula One’s drivers.
The corner represents 12% of the total lap distance and last for 8.5s, approximately 10% of the current lap record, with an average corner speed of around 270 kph.
Peak G-force of 5G…
What makes the corner so special is its unique combination of high speed and high loads. In fact, Turn Eight is the most demanding corner of the season in terms of tyre energy - that’s to say, the work the tyre has to do through the corner. Although it represents just 12% of the total lap distance, Turn Eight accounts for approximately 40% of the total tyre energy during the lap at Istanbul Park. Of the car’s four wheels, the right-hand front tyre is worked hardest.
Car set-up must also take the corner into specific consideration, notably in terms of tyre camber settings and ride heights, particularly at the rear of the car. The sustained high loading in a single direction could potentially pose challenges for oil pressure and fuel pick-up if the relevant systems do not function correctly, but the constraints are now well-known to the teams, so no problems are anticipated.
And Turn Eight isn’t just demanding on the car; the drivers have their part to play too. The peak G-force is 5G with a level of 4.5G is sustained for two seconds. The average G-force in the corner is 3.5G: at this load, the weight of the driver’s helmet and head is equivalent to a large cannonball. No wonder they train their necks so hard…
“The way you drive the corner largely depends on the car and how you have set it up”… Michael
Michael doesn’t think Turn Eight is “particularly difficult to drive”, but a good performance will come from a good set-up: “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”.
Nico still rates it as “one of the most challenging corners of the year”, due to the high speed and prolonged G-loadings. “If I had to create a fantasy Formula One circuit, this corner would definitely be included!”
Will Turn Eight play its part on Sunday? Only time will tell!