Daniil Kvyat will head into the Turkish GP at Istanbul Park blind having never raced at the circuit or done any simulator work.
The Turkish Grand Prix returns to Formula 1 this weekend for the first time since 2011 and motorsport fans will be looking forward to seeing the 2020 Formula 1 cars negotiate a circuit that is considered one of the best racing venues around.
Of the drivers that entered the most recent Turkish GP in 2011 only Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Sergio Perez remain on the current grid, but nearly all the drivers will have some experience of this track, whether it be past Turkish GPs, junior racing or simulator work.
However, Kvyat can’t claim any of those. The AlphaTauri driver couldn’t even do any simulator work because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
“I’ve never raced in any category at the Istanbul circuit and, with the current situation, I’ve not even been able to try it on the simulator, so I will be really starting from zero,” he told the Formula 1 website.
“Of course, I know where the corners go and have watched old races from there. I know it runs anti-clockwise, like the last race in Imola, and that it climbs and drops a lot.
“And then there’s the famous Turn 8 that goes on forever. I reckon with the modern F1 cars’ level of downforce, it should be really fast now and require plenty of commitment. Then there are some corners that are similar to famous turns at Spa and Interlagos, so I expect it will be an interesting weekend.”
Kvyat’s team-mate Pierre Gasly has been able to experience Istanbul Park in the simulator, and the Frenchman hopes he can make up for a disappointing weekend at Imola.
He had qualified P4 but was forced to retire early in the race from P5.
“It was a real shame about Imola, It was hard to take, having to retire when we could have clearly had a really strong result. But that’s racing,” he said.
“Like most of the drivers, I’ve never raced in Istanbul, so it will be a case of discovering the track for the first time.
“The layout looks very interesting and so I’m keen to experience it for myself. I have managed to do a few laps of the track in the simulator and it seems really unique with unusual corners – everyone’s heard of Turn 8 with all the long left-handers.
“They say the Istanbul track can give your neck muscles a real workout, but I reckon I am fitter now than I have ever been in my career, so I have no concerns in that respect.”