2009 Formula 1 World Championship leaders and title favourites Jenson Button and Brawn GP are refusing to rest on their laurels as the circus arrives in Istanbul for the Turkish Grand Prix this weekend - predicting an earnest challenge from their competitors around one of the most demanding tracks on the calendar.

Heading into the seventh round of the season, on the Asian side of the Bosphorus channel, Button holds a 16-point advantage over team-mate Rubens Barrichello in the chase for the crown, with the experienced Brazilian for his part twelve points ahead of the first non-Brawn driver, Red Bull Racing ace Sebastian Vettel.

Five triumphs and four further rostrum finishes from the opening six races have carried Brawn 43.5 points clear of nearest pursuer Red Bull - or, to put it another way, counting 86 points to its Milton Keynes-based rival's 42.5. A crushing one-two in the glamorous Monaco Grand Prix last time out only served to drive home the ex-Honda F1 outfit's dominance this year - and a similar result around the anti-clockwise, undulating, physical and technical Istanbul Park Circuit would be just what the doctor ordered.

"After a week back at the factory in Brackley to reflect on our success in Monaco, the team is now looking forward to our next challenge in the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul this weekend," reflected team principal Ross Brawn. "The Monaco Grand Prix was a wonderful weekend, with Jenson and Rubens, the team and our engine partner Mercedes-Benz [all] performing at the top of their game to bring home our third one-two finish of the season.

"However, Monaco is a unique track and we know that our competitors will be very strong in Turkey this weekend. Development work on the BGP 001 has continued apace at the factory, and we will be bringing a new front wing to Turkey along with some aerodynamic updates and new rear suspension elements.

"Istanbul Park is a thoroughly modern race track, which presents an interesting engineering challenge to get the best out of the car through the high-speed sections and the slower turns at the end of the lap. It's hard to believe that we are already over a third of the way through this season - and it's been a very intense but immensely rewarding start for the Brawn GP team."

It has arguably been even more so for Button, who after two years in the doldrums and just one victory under his belt from 153 starts in the top flight prior to the beginning of the current campaign, now finally has the machinery underneath him capable of doing justice to his prodigious raw talent. The British star has twice finished inside the top five in Turkey in four previous appearances.

Barrichello, by contrast, has scored just a single marker there, courtesy of eighth place back in 2006, but both drivers are clearly enthusiastic about taking to the track again around what is generally viewed as one of the most popular circuits of the season.

"The Turkish Grand Prix is always a race that I look forward to," underlined Button, "as I really enjoy driving the Istanbul Park circuit and have been quite competitive there in the past. Hermann Tilke did a great job with the layout of the track, and the changes in gradient are great fun and quite challenging for the drivers. We've seen some excellent racing at Istanbul Park, with good overtaking opportunities at turns one and three.

"You can also pass down the hill into turn nine, and at turns twelve and 13 if you brake late enough and get it just right. Turn eight is obviously the corner that everyone talks about, and it's probably the longest corner that I've ever driven; it's quite high G-force - up to 5G for seven seconds - which puts a lot of stress on your neck. You have to be as smooth as possible through the triple-apex, and if you get it right and take it flat, then it is one of those corners where you exit with a huge smile having made up a lot of time."

"Istanbul Park is quite a challenging circuit as it is one of very few tracks which runs anti-clockwise, just like my home circuit of Interlagos in S?o Paulo," concurred Barrichello. "It's tough driving an anti-clockwise track as the muscles on that side of your neck aren't used as much throughout the year, so we do some extra training to prepare as some of the quickest corners at Istanbul Park are also left-handers.

"The lap itself has a nice flow - allowing you to find a good rhythm - and the highlight is the high-speed turn eight, which is a quick and blind triple-apex corner with the additional challenge of some very bumpy tarmac. The circuit is one of the best modern tracks on the calendar, and I have been very impressed since we started racing here in 2005. The facilities are fantastic, but most importantly from a drivers' point-of-view the track has produced some really good races."


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