Bernie in talks to save Turkish GP

Date published: May 2 2011

Bernie Ecclestone is determined to see the Turkish GP remain a part of the F1 circus despite local officials saying they will not pay his increased fee…

Bernie Ecclestone is determined to see the Turkish GP remain a part of the F1 circus despite local officials saying they will not pay his increased fee.

This weekend’s grand prix could be the last time F1 visits Turkey for several years as Ecclestone reportedly wants to increase the price of hosting the race from $13 million to $26 million.

“It (the government) found this figure very high, it looks like it will not make the payment,” said Istanbul Chamber of Commerce Murat Yalcintas. “That is the reason the race is not happening.”

However, Ecclestone is refusing to give up on the Turkish GP, revealing he has began talks with local officials in a bid to secure the race’s future.

“Turkey generally is one of our better circuits,” the F1 supremo told the Daily Mirror.

“I think Turkey is a bloody good circuit. All the facilities there are good, everything is good except we don’t have a big crowd.

“I would be disappointed if we lose it but we can’t keep subsidising it.”

The race is the worst attended in Europe with several grandstands noticeably empty for last year’s event despite the government subsidising the ticket prices.

Ecclestone, though, is hoping that increased spectators this season will pave the way for a new deal.

“We have a long lease on the circuit and we have an escape clause. We can escape now if we want to.

“When our first agreement was made, they subsidised ticket revenue so everyone was expecting a whole bunch of people to be there and if there wasn’t, the government was going to make up for the missing tickets.

“It looks very much like the crowd is going to be much bigger this year, so it means the government’s involvement will be considerably less.”