Formula 1 News: Series to return to Turkey in 2026 – Rumor (3rd Update)

(GMM) Plans to revive the defunct Turkish GP at Istanbul have hit the accelerator as rumors out of Turkey almost ensure a 2026 return.

A month ago, Tass news agency reported that FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem was in the country amid plans by local authorities to “hold a tender for the reconstruction and management of the Istanbul Park circuit”.

The local Hurriyet newspaper said one condition for the winning bidder “will include the mandatory annual organization of the Formula 1 GP starting in 2026”.

“(Another) condition was put forward that the company that wins the tender will have to enter into an agreement with Formula 1 within one month.”

Haberturk, another major Turkish newspaper, says the tender process is now complete – with Pirelli’s Turkish subsidiary, Pirelli Otomobil Lastikleri AS emerging as the new circuit operator and future F1 promoter.

The report, mentioning a figure of $118 million for a 30-year rental period, says officials representing Liberty Media are slated to be in Istanbul shortly to “make statements”.

“Formula 1 is an extremely prestigious organization,” said Pirelli Turkey chairperson Lale Cander. “It brings tremendous amounts of money to the country where it is held and increases the prestige of that country.

“The last time F1 was in Miami, $450 million was brought to the city in four days. There will be countries that will be removed from the race calendar in 2026, so races can be held again in Turkey,” she added.

April 2, 2024 

The Istanbul Park circuit, the former home of the Turkish Grand Prix, has new operators tasked with bringing Formula 1 back to Turkey by 2026, it was announced on Tuesday.

Turkey returned to the F1 calendar in 2020 and 2021 during the Covid era and has since aimed to get back on the F1 calendar with President Tayyip Erdogan meeting the head of governing body FIA Mohammed Ben Sulayem in March to discuss the return of both F1 and the World Rally Championship.

Can Bilim Egitim Kurumlari A.S., a subsidiary of Can Holding, won the tender to operate the circuit for the next 30 years for some $117.8 million, broadcaster Haberturk and’s Turkish channel reported on Tuesday.

Istanbul Park Circuit

Can Bilim Egitim Kurumlari A.S. was the sole bidder as former operators Intercity did not bid and other expected bidders pulled out due to an onerous clause in the bidding requirements.

Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said last month that the tender would be awarded to the bidder who would be able to bring the sport back to Turkey by 2026.

If they fail, it will cost the winning bidder a lot of money.

The onerous clause in the tender conditions stated:

“The Contractor will guarantee that the Formula 1 races will be held on the Istanbul Park Circuit, and within 1 (One) month after the contract of work is signed, an agreement will be reached regarding the Formula-1 races to be held on our real estate and the protocol to be signed shall be notified to the Administration. If this is not done, the contract will be terminated and the deposited guarantees will be recorded as income to the administration.”

“The Contractor will undertake that Formula-1 races will start on the existing Formula-1 track on the property as of 2026. For each year in which races cannot be held after this year, including 2026, an annual compensation of 25% of the Formula-1 contract price for that year will be paid to the administration.”

One can conclude, therefore, that Can Bilim Egitim Kurumlari A.S.  has some assurances from the FIA and FOM that it will get a slot on the 2026 calendar and none of the other potential bidders did, so they pulled out of the tender process.

March 5, 2024 

(GMM) Turkey is making a major bid to return to the Formula 1 calendar, according to the Russian news agency Tass.

The outlet says FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem travelled to the country on Monday to meet with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“The meeting took place against the backdrop of plans by the Turkish authorities to hold a tender for the reconstruction and management of the Istanbul Park circuit,” Tass said, recalling that the last Turkish grands prix were held during the covid crisis.

Istanbul Park is reportedly owned by Turkey, but leased to a company “that is ready to meet the requirements of the tender”.

Additionally, the local Hurriyet newspaper claims the tender process will take place in early April, noting that the deal “will include the mandatory annual organization of the Formula 1 GP starting in 2026”.

“(Another) condition was put forward that the company that wins the tender will would have to enter into an agreement with Formula 1 within one month,” Tass added.

December 6, 2022 

(GMM) The president of Portugal’s automobile federation admits Portimao is not the only contender to replace the axed 2023 Chinese GP.

“Portugal is not the only interested country,” Fernando Machado Ni Armorim confirmed to Lusa news agency.

“Turkey is also in the running,” he added.

It rained both in 2020 and 2021 in Turkey – bad idea to go back

McLaren supremo Zak Brown, meanwhile, confirmed speculation that another solution is simply to leave a four-week gap in next year’s bustling calendar – which with China was initially set to feature a record 24 races.

“We shouldn’t have a grand prix just to fill a spot,” he insisted.

“It’s too bad that we won’t be back in China next year. It’s an important market for us so I hope they will sort out all the issues with covid-19 and we can return in 2024.”

As for 2023, Federacao Portuguesa de Automobilismo chief Ni Armorim said talks are underway with the Portuguese government about funding a replacement race.

“It will depend on whether there are funds,” he admitted.

“The fees are expensive, but the return justifies the investment. At the moment I don’t know the request amounts, because we are not at that stage of the negotiation.

“But the federation will do everything in its power to help make this project viable.”

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