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Turkish Grand Prix under threat

The head of the Istanbul Park Circuit has revealed the Turkish Grand Prix could be forced off the Formula 1 calendar from 2012 if a new deal isn't sought soon.

Turkey has been a popular addition to the Formula 1 calendar since 2005, with the circuit's undulating, anti-clockwise formation winning praise from teams and drivers for being high-speed and challenging.

However, the circuit's general director Can Guclu has revealed that 2011 could see it host its last race as it faces competition from a number of prospective venues - and contract renegotiation talks have not yet begun.

According to Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman, Ecclestone's FOA and the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce currently own the circuit, with each having the right to give advance notice to cancel the agreement so it can be nullified in three years – after the 2011 race, in this case.

The publication confirmed that Ecclestone has since given his notice, although it is being described as 'precautionary' in accordance with the current economic climate.

Even so, it means the race is a doubt for the 2012 season, with Guclu citing South Africa, Russia, Bulgaria and South Korea as in prime position to take its place.

"There is serious competition from such countries as South Africa, Russia, Bulgaria and South Korea," he said. "We are afraid that 2011 may be the last year of the staging of F1 in Istanbul.

"If we want the Turkish Grand Prix to stay on the calendar, we need to start working immediately. Or else, we cannot just begin negotiating for the race in the last year of the contract."

Despite the global economic crisis, several nations have expressed an interest in joining the Formula 1 calendar. Following the debut of Valencia and Singapore in 2008, this season will see Abu Dhabi join up.

In addition, India and South Korea are poised to be included over the next couple of years, while a new race in France, Italy and the United States has also been mooted.


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