US Grand Prix to replace Turkish GP? UPDATE #3
(GMM) Istanbul Park moved closer to reaching a deal for a 2012 Turkish grand prix following a meeting with Bernie Ecclestone.
|The main straight Istanbul grandstand had a lot of empty seats Sunday and some grandstands were completely empty|
Earlier, officials ruled out paying a doubled race sanctioning fee for a new contract, leaving the F1 chief executive Ecclestone saying in Turkey: "We don't want to leave here".
"Both sides are trying to solve this issue. Comparing before the race and the current situation, there is a 50 per cent difference," Turkey's automobile federation chairman Mumtaz Tahincioglu told local media after the meeting.
The first deadline for the resolution of the situation is June 3, when the World Motor Sport Council will discuss the provisional grand prix calendar for 2012.
"Even if the issue is not resolved by that date, we must get into the draft," said youth and sport general director Yunus Akgul.
Ecclestone said that will only happen if Turkey agrees to pay a representative annual fee.
"We will be happy to race here for exactly the same fees that we get from other European races, like Hungary," he said.04/27/11 (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has not ruled out finding a solution as Turkey threatens to bow out of formula one.
Istanbul officials last week said they had rejected the F1 chief executive's push to double the race sanctioning fee for 2012 and beyond.
But there is more to the story, such as the fact that Ecclestone actually controls the management rights to the Istanbul Park venue that is highly regarded by drivers but fails to attract large crowds for the annual event.
"It was not a profitable event," Istanbul mayor Kadir Topbas told the Zaman newspaper.
"Serious finances are needed in order for this system to work. Unfortunately there was a problem. Turkish people didn't give the races recognition," he added.
Ecclestone has in the past described the track as the "best in the world" and said he was happy to have brought his sport to Eurasia.
He now tells the Daily Express: "The race brings a huge amount of people, trade and publicity to the city. I am a bit disappointed (with Turkey's decision to drop F1) and I hope we can work out a deal."04/22/11 (GMM) Turkey's F1 problems do not mean the sport will never return to Istanbul.
That was the message on Friday of chamber of commerce head Murat Yalcintas, following reports that Bernie Ecclestone's doubling of the sanctioning fee for 2012 made a new deal unlikely.
Ecclestone said recently that he regarded Turkey's place on the F1 calendar as secure.
"It's an enormous market in Turkey. Eventually they will get themselves sorted out," said the Briton, responding to complaints about low attendance at the otherwise impressive facility.
The 2012 race is now in doubt but Yalcintas hinted that the latest reports merely foreshadow complex talks with Ecclestone at next month's event.
"If Ecclestone displays a rigid attitude then there will be no agreement," he told the Milliyet newspaper.
"Nothing is certain yet. Besides, if there is no agreement for next year, this does not mean that there will no longer be F1 in Istanbul. There could be agreements in the future," added Yalcintas.04/22/11 Turkish media is reporting that Istanbul will not host a Formula One grand prix in 2012 due to a disagreement between Turkish officials and the sport's commercial supremo, Bernie Ecclestone, over payments to stage the race. This of course was expected to make room on the crowded F1 calendar for the return of the United States Grand Prix at the new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
"Formula One says goodbye to Istanbul," said a headline in the Haberturk newspaper, while the Hurriyet daily quoted Murat Yalcintas, head of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce which backs the race in Turkey, as saying the government rejected a bid by Ecclestone to raise the payment to stage the race from $13 million to $26 million. Yalcintas commented on the situation on his Twitter account. "It looks like the Formula One race will not be held in Istanbul next year," he said, referring to the bid to double the fee.
"Because it found this figure very high it looks like it (finance ministry) will not make the payment. That is the reason the race is not happening," he said.
Ecclestone said in May of last year that Turkey could expect to stay on the Formula One calendar long-term despite attracting poor crowds at the Istanbul Park circuit on the Asian side of the Bosphorus strait. However, with the poor crowds we knew the race was in trouble and it was just a matter of time before it was gone.
The current contract runs out after this year's race which takes place on May 8.