Istanbul Park is set to be confirmed on a final 17-race calendar for the 2020 F1 season – with Jerez, which had also been touted for inclusion, missing out.
Scheduling the campaign has been an ongoing process for several months due to the effect of the global health pandemic, with the intention having been to reach somewhere near the revised target of 18 races.
But it looks as though 17 will be the number, with the last four being in Turkey, a double-header in Bahrain and the now-traditional finale in Abu Dhabi on December 13.
Although the dates have yet to be confirmed, Motorsport.com report that Turkey has been scheduled for November 15, a fortnight after the latest of the 13 races that are already finalised – the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola.
The Bahrain events, one of which could take place on a shorter and faster version of the regular track, are said to be following on November 29 and December 6, creating a Middle East triple-header with Abu Dhabi.
But that means no place for a second Spanish race of 2020 at Jerez, which had been linked alongside Turkey with a place on the rejigged schedule.
F1 race director Michael Masi had said during the Spanish Grand Prix weekend at Barcelona: “Within the next week or two we should have a finalised calendar which will fill in the end of November, start of December period.
“There might be a couple of surprises and also something we are probably used to as well.”
It now looks as though the only ‘surprise’ in terms of location will be Istanbul, which last staged an F1 race in 2011 – although talk of it being resurrected as a venue has occurred several times since.
The operators of the Istanbul Park circuit confirmed at the end of last month that they were in talks about a return.
F1 boss Chase Carey visited the country early in his tenure in April 2017, even meeting with President Erdogan.
Drivers voiced their approval for a return to Turkey during the Spanish Grand Prix weekend with Romain Grosjean, who raced there in GP2, saying: “I think it would be bloody awesome. It’s such a cool track. I really enjoy going there and racing. Turn 8 is a good one for the neck, so I think it would be very fast.”