Michael Masi has informed teams “the entire track surface has been treated to increase the grip level” at Istanbul Park ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix.
The track had been completely resurfaced ahead of Formula 1’s return to Turkey last season. But when the wet weather combined with a slick new surface, drivers found the going extremely difficult with Lewis Hamilton going so far as to describe it as “sh*t with a capital S”.
An enthralling race took place on a wet weekend in Turkey last year, with Hamilton going on to win his seventh World Championship in dramatic circumstances. But the Formula 1 race director has told the teams to expect a grippier track underneath them when they return to Istanbul Park.
“We do regularly each season send updates to the teams about any circuit changes for upcoming events,” said Masi, quoted by Autosport. “Be they be barriers, fences, gates, whatever. It may be areas of resurfacing.
“So yes, the surface in Turkey has been effectively water-blasted, would probably be the best way to put it, which is a regular treatment that happens.
“We have seen that regularly used in Singapore as an example where the public roads that are used, they resurface those quite regularly because of the movement. That’s what has happened there, along with a few other changes.”
Asked if the circuit had got it wrong in 2020, Masi added: “I think it was just matter of timing last year, I think we said that at the time. It was just literally a matter of timing and they have rectified that accordingly.”
F1’s managing director of motorsports, Ross Brawn, explained the sport had opted to race in Turkey at short notice because of the impacts of the pandemic, and changes at the track simply added to the challenge faced by the drivers last year.
“I appreciate drivers were not happy with overall grip levels,” said Brawn in 2020. “But it was a consequence of the late decision to race there as the calendar was revised to respond to COVID-19.
“I think drivers sometimes need to remember it’s a competition of who crosses the line first, so while grip levels weren’t high it was the same for everyone.
“Some drivers got their head down and came to terms with it, others found it a distraction.
“Having a challenging surface was no bad thing. It showed a driver’s talent to the max. I don’t think grip levels are a measure of the level of competition you will have.”