40,000 tickets sold in six hours for Turkish GP

Date published: September 17 2020

Sebastian Vettel crosses the line to win the 2011 Turkish Grand Prix

Turkish Grand Prix organisers, who are aiming for a crowd of 100,000 on November 15, were nearly halfway to that target after just six hours of tickets being on sale.

Istanbul Park is back on the F1 calendar for the first time since 2011, added as an extra round to a finalised 17-race schedule which has had to be drastically rejigged due to the global health pandemic.

At a recent press conference, Vural Ak, chairman of race promoters Intercity, revealed he was aiming for a six-figure attendance at the grand prix which, for the time being, will be a one-off return to Turkey.

Although a 100,000 attendance hardly sounds COVID-secure, the open-plan nature of the venue and a 220,000 capacity means social distancing will be easier to observe.

General admission tickets for the race being priced at 30 Turkish lira (£3) per day, or 90 lira for all three days, is another reason why demand has already been so high.

Over 40,000 tickets were sold in just six hours after going on sale, with 10,000 alone in the first hour.

“We were planning to fill the full capacity, 220,000 seats, under normal circumstances but it’s not possible with COVID-19,” said Ak, quoted by Motorsport.com.

“We are passionate and enthusiastic about this sport and we can organise it successfully. But as you know, there is COVID-19. That’s why we hope to bring about 100,000 people.”

Istanbul Park is set to teturn to the F1 calendar for 2020

While being open to the possibility of a spike in coronavirus cases forcing a change of plan, Ak said he believes protocols put in place should ensure a bumper crowd.

“We have to be prepared for anything,” he said. “If the disease becomes worse than today, the race can be done without spectators.

“However, we know the capacity of this track. Around 220,000 spectators can watch the race in the grandstands and in the open areas.

“At the moment for safety reasons, if we close some sections, about 100,000 spectators will be able to watch the race by following social distancing rules.”

While the first eight F1 races of the season were staged without spectators inside the venue, the Tuscan Grand Prix at Mugello was the first to have a crowd with 2,880 tickets sold for each day.

The next event, the Russian Grand Prix, will have a larger attendance, with 30,000 expected at Sochi on race day.

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