Money the issue over return of Turkish GP
ISTANBUL (AFP) –
The Turkish Grand Prix could return to the Formula One schedule next year provided the organisers can reach agreement with the sport’s paymaster Bernie Ecclestone over money, the Turkish Automobile Federation (Tosfed) announced on Wednesday.
According to the Tosfed statement, quoted by Anatolia press agency, Ecclestone and the new manager of the circuit, businessman Vural Ak, reached agreement on all matters relating to the race.
However, it remains for the Turkish Government to give the green light to releasing the requisite funds – which according to Ak amount to 13.5 million dollars.
Ecclestone will be at the General Assembly of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), the sport’s governing body, whose board had reserved a date for a Grand Prix to be held on July 21 at an unspecified European location.
Turkey hosted a Grand Prix in Istanbul from 2005 to 2011 and it proved extremely popular with the drivers but it came to an abrupt end when Ecclestone and the then promoters of the race failed to reach agreement over holding the 2012 race.
Ecclestone has been searching for several months to have a 20th race on the 2013 calendar, following the decision to delay the New Jersey Grand Prix’ inaugural running from June 2013 to 2014.
Ak made it possible to reopen talks when he bought the management rights for the circuit at Istanbul Park.
Turkey has become increasingly ambitious in competing to host major sporting events.
Istanbul is considered a strong candidate to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games – they are up against Tokyo and Madrid and will learn their fate when the 100+ International Olympic Committee (IOC) members vote on September 6 next year.
Their football federation is also keen to host the 2020 European Championships, but that is being frowned upon by the Olympic bid as the IOC refuses to allow another major sporting event to be held in the country hosting the Olympics in the same year.