The next F1 Grand Prix is just around the corner and Red Bull Racing's Mark Webber is gearing up for some unexpected challenges from Mother Nature...
The Turkish Grand Prix weekend has kicked off in unusually wintry conditions. Thursday’s rain, grey skies and 11-degree ambient temperature will give Mark and Red Bull Racing plenty to think about as they prepare for Sunday’s race.
“This is definitely the coldest race we’ve had in Turkey,” says Mark. “But even though it’s cold, it won’t affect the punishing load that’s going to be put through the tyres if it’s dry. The conditions at Sepang a couple of races ago were extreme due to the heat and a few fast corners, but Turn 8 at Istanbul Park - a fast, quadruple-apex left-hander - is going to give the right side of the car a hard time.”
Mark will pull up to 5g for seven seconds through Turn 8, so he’s expecting a physical 58-lap race on Sunday. But it won’t be as arduous as in 2005, when it was scorching hot and the cars were quicker.
“That first race in Istanbul was a solid two hours work,” Mark recalls. “But two days before the race I visited Gallipoli and drew great inspiration from what I saw there, and continue to do so. What those guys went through in 1915, during the First World War, puts driving a racing car into perspective.”
"I expect us to be competitive and I’m hoping to score my third podium at this track in as many years.”
Red Bull Racing has various aerodynamic upgrades on its RB7 for this race, which Mark hopes will keep the car competitive. But the wet weather forecast for Friday will limit the amount that the team can learn about the new parts and about race set-up.
“All of the teams are going to enter the business end of the weekend with little information,” he says. “We still don’t know how many pitstops we’re going to do on Sunday, but the teams with the know-how and the knowledge will be okay. I expect us to be competitive and I’m hoping to score my third podium at this track in as many years.”