The 2006 Turkish Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race, held on 27 August 2006. The 58-lap race, which was the fourteenth round of the 2006 Formula One season, and the second Turkish Grand Prix, was held at Istanbul Park in Istanbul, Turkey. It marked the first race victory, and also the first pole position, for Felipe Massa, who drove for the Ferrari team. Fernando Alonso, who drove for Renault finished the race in second position and Massa's teammate Michael Schumacher occupied the final position on the podium. The race was also the first Grand Prix meeting for future quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel, who was assigned a Friday test driver role for the BMW Sauber team.
As a consequence of the race, Fernando Alonso extended his lead in the Drivers' Championship to 12 points from Michael Schumacher. With victory, Felipe Massa retained third place in the standings, and despite closing the gap between himself and Schumacher to 34 points, it was still near impossible for him to surpass his teammate's points total. This basically created a two-horse race for the title in the four remaining rounds. In the Constructors' Championship, Ferrari closed the gap to leaders Renault to just two points. McLaren remained in third position, a huge 69 points behind the top two teams.
Prior to the Grand Prix weekend, Renault's Fernando Alonso led the Formula One World Drivers' Championship on 100 points. He held a ten-point lead over main rival Michael Schumacher, despite retiring from the preceding race in Hungary. Ferrari teammates, Schumacher and Felipe Massa lay second and third in the standings on 90 and 52 points respectively, ahead of the second Renault of Giancarlo Fisichella and the McLaren of Kimi Räikkönen, both on 49 points.
Renault led the Constructors' Championship with 149 points, seven clear of Ferrari, while McLaren were in third position with 89 points. They were ahead of Honda F1, who sat in fourth with 52 after picking up their first and to be only victory since their return, three weeks before in Hungary. BMW Sauber completed the top five with 26 points.
The bottom 6 teams in the 2005 Constructors' Championship and Super Aguri were entitled to run a third car in free practice on Friday. These drivers drove on Friday but did not compete in qualifying or the race.
Kimi Räikkönen set the fastest time in the first free practice session, despite only completing five laps; ahead of Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button, who were both just within half a second of Räikkönen's time. In the bottom half of the order, Felipe Massa finished the session 17th and Fernando Alonso 23rd. Neither of the Williams left the garage during the session. Sebastian Vettel impressed many as he set the fastest time in the second free practice session, on his first Grand Prix weekend appearance.
The following day however, in qualifying, it was Felipe Massa who set the fastest time, taking the first pole position of his career, ahead of Schumacher by one tenth of a second. The two Renaults occupied the next row with Alonso in front of Fisichella again. Fifth spot was initially taken up by Ralf Schumacher's Toyota, before he was demoted to fifteenth for a gearbox change. This was also true for Christijan Albers, who was taken from a good sixteenth place qualifying for the Midland team, to the back of the grid. Only four hundredths of a second separated Nick Heidfeld, Button and Räikkönen qualified from sixth to eighth before all moving up a place after Ralf Schumacher's penalty. Robert Kubica and Mark Webber completed the top ten fastest times, with Christian Klien completing the top ten on the starting grid.
The start of the race was affected by a multi-car accident entering the first corner. Massa, Michael Schumacher, Alonso and Fisichella all battled for position entering the first corner, with Fisichella spinning, causing a chain reaction behind him. During the chain reaction, Scott Speed collided with the McLaren of Räikkönen, causing one of Räikkönen's rear tyres to puncture. Räikkönen pitted for a new set of tyres, but soon faced a similar problem due to damaged bodywork; because of this he went straight off the outside of turn 4 and into a barrier, on the next lap. Nick Heidfeld, Fisichella, Speed and Ralf Schumacher all needed repairs from the incident, and the Midland of Tiago Monteiro was forced to retire.
On lap 13, Vitantonio Liuzzi, who had climbed to seventh place, lost control entering the first turn and spun, stalling the engine. The car was left stranded on the racing line at the exit of the corner, and the Safety Car was deployed. Massa, Schumacher, Alonso, Button, Kubica and Webber all came in to make pit stops whilst the Safety Car circulated. The first four drivers stayed at the front, but Webber and Kubica dropped to near the back of the pack. Alonso, however, was able to jump Schumacher, as his title rival was forced to 'stack' behind Massa before the mechanics could set to work on his car. The final 15 laps of the race were focused on Alonso and Michael Schumacher, who fought for second place behind Massa as part of their championship battle. Schumacher pursued Alonso for the last laps, but was unable to catch Alonso until the final corners of the final lap. Schumacher was right on the gearbox of Alonso exiting the last corner, but did not get past.
Thus, Massa took his first career Formula One victory, making it the second Grand Prix in a row with a first-time winner, following Button's win in Hungary three weeks earlier. It was the first time this had happened since 2003, when Räikkönen and Fisichella won their first victories at the consecutive Malaysian and Brazilian Grands Prix. Drivers' Championship rivals, Alonso and Schumacher completed what was to be a controversial podium ceremony. Button, de la Rosa, Fisichella, Ralf Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello completed the points-scorers and the cars on the lead lap.
The podium display after the race caused controversy when winner Felipe Massa received the trophy from Mehmet Ali Talat, who was referred to as the "President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus." This breakaway area of the island of Cyprus is only recognized by Turkey. The government of the Republic of Cyprus filed an official complaint with the FIA, the body governing the Formula One world championship. After investigating the incident, the FIA fined the organizers of the Grand Prix $5 million on September 19, 2006.Notes
^1 – Ralf Schumacher and Christijan Albers both received 10 place grid penalties due to engine changes..
Note, only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.Bold text indicates who still has a theoretical chance of becoming World Champion.