There have been many murmurings of late about the likelihood or otherwise of Bulgaria joining the annual F1 calendar in the not-too-distant future – but if it does so, it appears it may be at the expense of current races in Turkey and Hungary.
The circuit in Bulgaria – one that it is hoped will be of a standard to be able to accommodate both F1 and MotoGP, and that it is claimed will benefit from a unique artificial heating system to ensure a stable track temperature [see separate story – click here
] – is tipped to feature on the top flight's schedule from as early as 2012, with a contract waiting to be signed with the sport's commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone.
Despite a scandal erupting just under two months ago regarding alleged funding from Arabian investors – funding that was swiftly and angrily denied by the Emirates Associated Business Group [see separate story – click here
] – Bulgarian motor racing official and grand prix organiser Bogdan Nikolov maintains that the EABG is still keen to be involved in the project. An F1 race in the country would, however, come at a price.
“If there is a grand prix in Sofia, there won't be races in Istanbul and at the Hungaroring,” he told Sofia-based news agency Novinite
. “We will be the only grand prix in eastern Europe.”
The Hungarian Grand Prix has been an F1 regular every year since 1986, whilst Turkey joined the fray in 2005. Although the challenging Istanbul Park Circuit has proven to be popular amongst drivers and television viewers, it has had difficulty in attracting decent crowd numbers, ostensibly due to high ticket prices – casting doubt over its future in the sport.