A little over a week ago, one of the pieces of the leading news from the usually pulsating world of Formula 1 was the return of the Turkish Grand Prix on the calendar. In a year where, at one point, it seemed that ‘silly season’ was in full flow, with the news of Sebastian Vettel leaving Ferrari (at the end of 2020) sending the driver market into a tizzy, it now appears there’s space for many more interesting developments, none of which seem as interesting as that of the Turkish Grand Prix.
Last held back in 2011, when only Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel from the current line up were part of the contest with a majority of eighteen of the current drivers not even a part of the sport, the Turkish Grand Prix is steeped in that way in some history.
This is also interesting in the sense that the event has not been held anymore other than seven previous instalments. If that’s not fascinating then what is- one might ask?
And the news that the massive event held at the Istanbul Park is returning to the mega sport not before a decade-long absence has left many on the current grid excited and even, at loss of words.
To appreciate the fact that guys like Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz Jr., Charles Leclerc, George Russell, Pierre Gasly, and Lance Stroll, not to mention, Max Verstappen were children or possibly running about in their pram when the event was a regular part of the F1 roster is both weird and rather surprising.
But how quickly do destinies change in Formula 1, right?
In fact, not even drivers like Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez or Daniel Ricciardo have raced at the now-returning event.
Against that narrative, the much-exciting return of the famous transcontinental race to the calendar left drivers expressing unique adjectives, mired in both admiration and thrill.
So what exactly did some of the leading names in our paddock express on the said event?
When asked by celebrated F1 portal Autosport, current Haas driver Romain Grosjean had the following to say:
“It would be mega.
I think it would be bloody awesome. It’s such a cool track. I really enjoy going there and racing.
Turn 8 is a good one for the neck, so I think it would be very fast.”
That being told, Renault’s returning driver for the current season, Esteban Ocon was of the following view: “Turkey is a fantastic circuit, if it comes to the calendar, awesome.”
But the mild-mannered Frenchman didn’t just stop at that as he added, “It’s an old-school circuit, something I was watching on TV when I was younger. [The] massive left-hander, flat-out, is going to be pretty impressive.”
Meanwhile, Red Bull’s Alex Albon was of the view that Turn 8 of the Istanbul Park would be one that would enable all cars to go absolutely flat-out; isn’t that what we all seek as fans (cars going at blazing speeds with there being more opportunities to execute a move?).
Interestingly, there are multiple memories associated with the Turkish Grand Prix that spring to life. Moments such as Sebastian Vettel winning the last-ever event, circa 2011, form a formidable moment in the history of the event. Not only was that race so indicative of Red Bull’s dominance, given that Vettel took both pole and the race-win, former F1 driver Mark Webber (also the German’s teammate back then) set the fastest lap of the race; 1:29:703.
Moreover, there are other sweltering moments from the race including current Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen driving home a famous victory in 2005, the Finn racing for McLaren back then.
Come to think of it, it’s been 15 years since the Iceman’s coveted triumph in the beating heart of Turkey! Although, once confirmed, this time around, we may see Kimi race to what could be his last-ever appearance at the checkered venue.