August 13, 2005
Oh well, so it goes. We're now a week away from the debut of the new track in Istanbul (not Constantinople). The Otodrom was designed by the same man who designed Sepang, Shanghai and Bahrain, Herman Tilke; like those, it's a purpose-built track. UNLIKE those, however, it doesn't feature what was previously a Tilke hallmark, two long straights divided by a tight hairpin, which made for a great passing location.
Instead, Istanbul's main feature is what works out to be a long sweeping right-hander, comprising turns 10 thru 12... the trackmap makes it out to be roughly 2km of the overall 5.34km length. They're predicting that the car'll hit around 200mph just before having to brake down to 60mph for a tight left-right-left sequence that takes the cars back to the start-finish line. My neck hurts just thinking about it.
Also unusual for a Tilke design, perhaps making up for the lack of hugelong straights, is the fact that the track has four different elevations, making for some blind corners perhaps.
Having looked at the official website for the track, the main seating grandstands look for all the world like... a shopping mall. Oh dear, this may not be good.
Finally, there has been a rash of bombs going off in and around Istanbul; local terrorists have said they'll try to disrupt the race. Joy, just what we need.
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