Drivers Impressed by Istanbul Track

Formula One's Championship leader Fernando Alonso said he was impressed with Turkey's new circuit even before turning a wheel at the Istanbul track

Drivers Impressed by Istanbul Track

"I think the same as everyone, quite impressed about the circuit," said Alonso, "not only the facilities here in the paddock. I think also the track is a little bit different compared to all the new circuits we have seen in the last three or four years, Bahrain or China.

"I think to go up and down is the most interesting thing from a driver's point of view because we really enjoy the lap, like Spa or some of the other circuits, so I am really happy to be here."

The race is the only new one on the 2005 calendar after Bahrain and China made their debuts last year.

The Hermann Tilke-designed circuit is located on the Asian side of Istanbul, to the north of the TEM motorway linking the city with the capital Ankara.

The undulating layout is one of three anti-clockwise tracks in the Championship - the others being Imola in Italy and Interlagos in Brazil - with 14 turns, six of them right-handers, and four straights.

"I think it is a very complete circuit, you can find everything, quick corners, slow corners, change of directions, heavy brakes and everything," said Sauber's Felipe Massa.

"I think we can see some overtaking in the race, so I think it is a fantastic circuit, just looking like that. Tomorrow we will have some better idea, but I was really impressed and I think they did a really good job."

Red Bull's Christian Klien, who completed a lap on his bike on Thursday, said the track was like no other.

"It is very interesting this circuit, it is completely different to other tracks, it is very much up and down and a lot of corners where you can't see the entry and I was just two laps out there on the track and I think I will have to go out for some more laps in the afternoon because it looks very difficult.

Minardi driver Robert Doornbos added: "The circuit looks good. I did a walk around, as we do on every new circuit, I was quite impressed with the difference in height because on the Playstation you didn't really notice that and it looks like a lot of fun. I cannot wait to go out there tomorrow."

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