Bobcat telehandlers keep Istanbul's F1 track clear
By Mike Isherwood17 June 2008
At this year's Formula-1 and GP2 races at Istanbul Park in Turkey, the drivers and cars in the races were safeguarded by the circuit's rescue teams and a fleet of 14 Bobcat telehandlers.
The Bobcat telehandlers were supplied by Hamamcioğlu Müesseseleri TTAŞ, the Bobcat dealer for Turkey, based at Orhanlı in the Tuzla district of Istanbul, and comprised of 17 m T40170 and 14 m T40140 models.
The Turkish Grand Prix is one of the most recent additions to the Formula 1 World Championship. This is the fourth year that the facilities at Istanbul Park have been used and the third year that Hamamcioğlu and the Bobcat telehandlers have been involved.
Nuri Hamamcioğlu, managing director of Hamamcioğlu, said, "The Bobcat telehandlers and our operators gave support to the excellent track side teams to ensure that damaged cars were removed quickly from the track to minimise interruptions to the exciting action on the track. We are delighted to be part of this prestigious event, which demonstrates what our telehandlers can do and is an excellent platform to promote the Bobcat brand and range of equipment."
Prior to the second F1 practice session on the Friday, rain at lunchtime had left the track slightly slippery and, after half an hour, Mark Webber went into a spin and shunted his Red Bull head-on into the barriers at Turn 6. A red flag was raised while the damaged car was cleared away by a Bobcat telehandler, but the Australian was unhurt. As in the first practice session in the morning, there was a rash of off-course moments. Besides Webber: Rosberg, Piquet, Heidfeld, Hamilton, Bourdais, Button and Glock all either spun or ran wide, although only the Australian damaged his car.
After the rain on Friday, there were no incidents involving the Bobcat telehandlers during the final practice session, the qualifying run for the F1 Grand Prix and the first of the GP2 races which all took place on the Saturday.
On Sunday, however, this changed completely with accidents at the first corner in both the second GP2 race and the main F1 event itself. In the GP2 race, as the leaders sped up the hill from the first and second bends, mayhem ensued behind them. When the dust settled, eight drivers were out on the spot, with the safety car immediately coming out. Several of the cars were restarted and stayed in the race, whilst others were wheeled out of contention into safe positions away from the track. For one car, a Bobcat telehandler moved quickly from the inside of the circuit to lift it away from the track.
After the GP2 race, the excitement grew for the beginning of the F1 Grand Prix at 3 pm in the afternoon. The start was followed by a major collision when Force India driver, Giancarlo Fisichella hit the back and flew over the top of Kazuki Nakajima in the Williams, before landing with a broken front suspension in the gravel trap. Whilst the Safety Car led the field around the track, the Fisichella car was taken off the circuit in just a few minutes by a Bobcat telehandler. Another retiree given a lift by a Bobcat telehandler was Sebastien Bourdais, whose Toro Rosso ended up in gravel on another part of the circuit, as the result of a technical failure on lap 25.
Felipe Massa showed himself to be a real contender by winning the Turkey Grand Prix 3.7 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who had sufficient points in hand over Kimi Raikkonen, to keep the Finn in third place and to reduce his championship points lead to seven.
Sunday ended with an impressive parade of the telehandler fleet around the track after the F1 Grand Prix, led by dealer relations manager, Burçin Arbay, who headed up the Hamamcioğlu lifting team at Istanbul Park.
Hamamcioğlu has built a strong relationship with Istanbul Park team under Operations Director, Levent Pekün. Based on their experience with the telehandlers, the Park team chose the biggest machines from Bobcat to do the job, to ensure that there was plenty of lifting capacity for any eventuality on the track.
The Bobcat 17 m T40170 and 14 m T40140 models in use at Istanbul Park form part of a range of eight covering lift capacities from 2.2 to 4.0 t and maximum lift heights from 5.2 to 17.4 m.The T40140 and T40170 telescopic handler boom is made from high tensile steel with a high degree of elasticity, allowing the use of thinner plates which reduces the overall weight of the boom. This also lowers the centre of gravity of the machine and increases its stability. The boom has a counter-bow design in order to maintain near perfect straightness when loaded at full reach.
The T40140 model can raise a maximum load of 3.7 tonne to a lift height of 13.5 m; the reach is 9.65 m with a maximum load of 1.3 t. The Bobcat T40170 telehandler can lift a maximum load of 4 t and has a maximum lift height of 17.43 m. The capacity at maximum lift height is 2.5 t, while at maximum reach (13 m), the capacity is 0.5 t.