• Turkish Grand Prix

Turkish GP future continues to be uncertain

ESPNF1 Staff
April 23, 2011 « Tony Fernandes buys Caterham | »
Attendances at recent Turkish Grands Prix have been disappointing © Sutton Images
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The future of the Turkish Grand Prix is in doubt after an official claimed that the finance ministry would not agree to the doubling of the race fee.

The race has been under threat for the last couple of years with increasing fees coinciding with falling attendances. There were 200,000 spectators at the inaugural race in 2005, but in recent seasons that has fallen to around 35,000.

The head of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, Murat Yalcinta, said that Bernie Ecclestone had asked for the price to increase from next year, with the current contract running out after this season's race.

Yalcinta said that after a board meeting about the grand prix, it appeared that the race was unlikely to go ahead. "Each year the price of Formula 1 for the racing ministries company was $13 million," Yalcinta wrote on his Twitter page. "After this year Ecclestone asked for $26 million."

No official statement was made by the Turkish Grand Prix organisers, but the race has suffered from poor attendances since its debut in 2005. Bernie Ecclestone is unlikely to be overly concerned at the potential of losing the race. With the new United States Grand Prix in Austin being added to the 2012 season, at least one race would need to be dropped in order to keep the number of races on the calendar below 20.

If that were to happen, the future of Istanbul Park, which is little used outside the grand prix, would be in doubt as well.