Highlights of Turkey preview quotes: The drivers said what?

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While it may seem like the entire Formula 1 world is focused on Austin, Texas — we unabashedly admit to being excited about the prospect, even if it has a long way to go — there is a race this weekend.

In Turkey!

The Turkish Grand Prix might win the prize for highest ratio of “good track” to “fan attendance.” Beginning with Turn 8, there’s a lot to like about the track. It isn’t entirely flat. It’s anti-/counter-clockwise. Good stuff.

There just hasn’t been a lot of people in the stands. Might be part of the reason the track’s not on the calendar much longer, huh?

Anyway, to start building enthusiasm for this weekend’s race, here are a few highlights from team quotes, via the official F1 site:

Adrian Sutil, Force India
2009 Qualifying – 15th, 2009 Race – 17th
“In Turkey we have some new developments we are aiming to test and then introduce for the race, including changes to the front wing and to the mirrors to optimise the position used for the first time in China. We’ve seen in previous races that the top teams aren’t going for major upgrade packages, they are drip feeding improvements, and that’s why it’s so important to keep these steps coming through. I’m feeling very positive about this race. I’ve gone well in Turkey before, getting into Q2 when we didn’t expect it last year. It’s a balance of high speed corners and technical sections, but it’s a real rollercoaster and turn eight is awesome. This year it’s going to be impressive, you could take it flat out. I think it should be a good track for us as we’re still fast on the straights but the car feels balanced through the corners as well, and you need good traction at this circuit. I hope to pick up some more points at this race to close that gap to Renault.”

The bottom-line seems to be that Force India is hoping to creep closer to Renault. I’m afraid to do so, they might have to knee-cap Robert Kubica.

Karun Chandhok, HRT
2009 Qualifying – n/a, 2009 Race – n/a
“I am looking forward to racing in Istanbul after our strong showing in Monaco. It is a shame it had to end the way it did but the team can be very proud as we did a good job there. Turkey will be a completely different challenge to Monaco. I have gone well in Istanbul over the last couple of years in GP2 and was also leading the race in 2007 before I was forced to retire. There is a good balance of corners here, especially Turn Eight, which is quite a challenge and very long and fast with the triple apex. Taking care of the tyres on the high-speed corners will be crucial to the outcome of the race. The team are definitely encouraged after Monaco and we will continue to do our best to get the best possible result.”

Karun Chandhok has officially won the prize for “Most Positive F1 driver.” “Our strong showing in Monaco”? Did I miss the team not double DNFing?

Vitaly Petrov, Renault
2009 Qualifying – n/a, 2009 Race – n/a
“(Istanbul Park) is a place that I like. You can overtake there, the circuit is wide and I enjoy the different kinds of corners – not just turn eight, but the rest of the lap too. To be honest, in GP2 turn eight was not so difficult but I will need to learn the circuit again in an F1 car. Like every race, my aim will be to do my maximum, and I’m pleased to be driving at a circuit I know well.

“For Turkey, I will be pushing hard again to do my best, but the target will be to put everything together and have a clean weekend. I think we will have to wait until Friday practice to see how the car is performing. In terms of qualifying, the target has to be to get in the top ten at least, and then we will see what happens on Sunday…”

I’m just including Vitaly while he’s still in F1.

Pedro de la Rosa, BMW Sauber
2009 Qualifying – n/a, 2009 Race – n/a
“I think Istanbul Park is a track where we should be able to regain the competiveness we showed in Barcelona, therefore I’m very much looking forward to the Turkish Grand Prix. I like the circuit. The last time I raced there was in 2006 and I finished fifth. Certainly the most challenging corner is turn eight – it is the longest high speed corner of the championship. With G-Forces of approximately four G for a period of six seconds on each lap this turn is pretty demanding for the tyres and the neck. Again, I desperately want to finish a race.”

Kamui Kobayashi, BMW Sauber
2009 Qualifying – n/a, 2009 Race – n/a
“We learned another lesson in the last race in Monaco. But before that in Barcelona we had a really positive feeling for the improvement of the car, and I hope we can carry on from there. Istanbul Park is a nice track and it should suit our car, especially because it has both high and medium speed corners. The slower parts in the last sector should not be too much of a disadvantage. We have to remain confident and work hard.”

I’m also hoping to win the lottery. And have about as much chance, I’m afraid. That said, Sauber is bringing an F-duct, so maybe I’m wrong. Of course, my last lottery ticket I used a F-duct system to fill it out, so we’re maybe even.

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP
2009 Qualifying – n/a, 2009 Race – n/a
“The Turkish fans have always been very kind to me therefore it will be a pleasure to be racing at Istanbul Park again in front of a crowd which will hopefully support us enthusiastically. From our side, we will obviously try to give them something to cheer about and we hope that we can make further progress in Turkey, after we have already seen some improvements in Barcelona and Monaco. The Istanbul Park track is a special one. It’s anti-clockwise, a bit hilly and with a lot of different corner layouts so it’s quite nice to drive. I am definitely looking forward to the weekend, especially as our guys back at the factory have worked immensely hard recently to provide us again with an upgraded car. It is clear that we want their efforts to pay off.”

And then Michael added: “When I say ‘Turkish fans,’ I really mean ‘fan.’ But that one guy has been really nice to me.”

Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
“The Grand Prix in Istanbul takes place on a race track with some very quick corners which are the type of corners where we struggled at Barcelona some weeks ago. The 5.34km circuit also has seven quite tight corners, mainly in the last sector, and this combination presents a real challenge for the drivers, cars and tyres. We were quick in Monaco at the last race and mechanically our car works well, therefore with the further improvements that we are bringing for this race, we hope to make a step forward in Istanbul.”

Norbert next was heard on his cell phone talking to Ron Dennis. “Please let’s work out a new deal. This Brawn guy is an idiot.”

Jenson Button, McLaren
2009 Qualifying – 2nd, 2009 Race – 1st
“Istanbul Park is a track that I really enjoy. Turn Eight is one of the best corners in Formula One: it feels fantastic when you throw the car into the first apex, and then just feed it through with very precise throttle and steering inputs. When you get it right, it feels absolutely fantastic – you really can pull a lot of speed through that corner. Actually, I think the track is one of the better modern circuits we visit – it’s got a good balance of corners, some good gradient and, most importantly, in terms of overtaking, it’s probably the best-designed circuit that we visit all year. If you can follow a car out of Turn 10, then you’ve got a really good chance of getting a tow and having a look up the inside into Turn 12, or even Turn 13 – those two corners are where all the passing usually happens. We’ve got some new upgrades for this race, which I think underlines the strength of our development push. We should be particularly well suited to Turkey, and I think we’ve got a good chance of going well there.”

McLaren for the win, anyone?

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