Turkish Grand Prix: Why Is the Turn 8 at Istanbul Park So Famous?

Published 10/03/2021, 9:31 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – Racing Point’s Sergio Perez in action during the race REUTERS/Tolga Bozoglu


As F1 gets ready for the Turkish Grand Prix, there are a lot of things to look forward to. The never-ending on-track action, the moody Turkish weather, and the Diabolica. Turn 8 at the Intercity Park receives this frightening name because of the threatening approach it requires.

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A 600m long curve with no less than four apices, it truly is a diabolical creation. However, it gives for some of the best overtaking in the race, only if the drivers risk going flat out in the hellish corner. As a result, overtaking is a rare but thrilling sight from the Turn 8 grandstands.

Infernal moves at Turkish Grand Prix

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Formula 1 tracks have many great turns to brag about: the Eau Rouge at Spa, Monza’s Parabolica, and even the 130 R in Suzuka. However, the Diabolica at Intercity Park takes the cake. The multi-apex, bumpy, blistering left-hander is a beast; the corner will easily be one of the greatest challenges for the drivers during the Turkish Grand Prix.

The remarkable curve is the longest of the season. 640 meters long, it takes drivers around 8.5 seconds to reach the turn’s exit. While doing so, they also hit the three to four apices of the turn.

The high-speed corner is approached at full throttle, with the slowest speed being around 260 kph. This also means that the G-force the drivers experience is high as well. Not only is the turn tough on the drivers, with an average of 3.5 G, it’s tough on the car and the tires as well.

Given the challenge the turn presents, the adrenaline-hungry drivers of the sport love it.

F1 drivers describe Turn 8

In 2010, then Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel shared his love for the corner. “It’s an awesome corner, we try to take it flat year by year. It’s fast and extremely bumpy, so you can hardly see where you’re going. You turn in and hope for the best.”

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Defending champion Lewis Hamilton gave a more detailed narration of what happens at the turn. “You enter it on full throttle, and once in it is a corner where you are continuously building up lateral G-force. And you really have to be quite precise with the line that you take. It is also important how much minimum speed you carry through the whole corner, as you carry it all the way down the next straight.”

Ahead of the race in 2020, Russell divulged in his worries approaching the turn. “I’ve learned that it’s going to be brutal for us drivers…it’s 4-5G of load, which is like the equivalent of 45 kilos, 50 kilos on our necks that we have to sustain for the six seconds. That’s going to be a real task.” 

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Because of the extensive toll it takes on the driver’s necks, they are allowed to add extra padding to their cockpit. Although, not all drivers want that.

Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – November 14, 2020 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in action during qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Ozan Kose

At the risk of being bullied by his father, Max Verstappen stayed away from the padding in 2020. “My dad was laughing at me for using that… prefer that my head falls off.”

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His former teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, also shared his opinion. “My engineer asked me the same question. I laughed him off, so we’ll see if my confidence bites me.”

Padding or no padding, the turn is a monster the drivers have to grapple with. But, as the drivers love the challenge, Turn 8 will only catalyze the thrill of the Turkish Grand Prix.

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Shreya Sanjeev

475 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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