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Turkey 'ready to do everything' to keep F1

The Turkish sports minister is keen to meet with Formula One Management (FOM) chief executive Bernie Ecclestone in a last-ditch attempt to retain Istanbul's slot on the annual F1 calendar
Turkey's sports minister is 'ready to do everything' to keep F1 in Istanbul, the Turkish Automobile Sports Federation has asserted – including 'publicity and promotional campaigns to raise attendance and earnings' in the wake of increased financial demands from Bernie Ecclestone.

The Turkish Grand Prix – popular with drivers and teams but seemingly less so with spectators – has been a fixture on the annual F1 calendar since 2005, but consistently poor crowd numbers allied to an inability to match Formula One Management (FOM) chief executive Ecclestone's rising race-hosting fees saw the event dropped from the 2012 schedule last weekend [see separate story – click here].

Indeed, the low spectator figures are believed to be predominantly the product of excessive ticket prices to recoup Ecclestone's fees. Having traditionally charged Turkey $13 million to stage its grand prix, for 2012, the British billionaire is understood to have asked for $24 million – almost a 100 per cent increase.

Whilst maintaining that Ecclestone's 'demands' are unworkable, the chairman of the Turkish Automobile Sports Federation (TOSFED) Mümtaz Tahincioðlu – who convened with the country's Youth and Sports Minister Suat Kýlýç earlier this week to discuss the matter – has vowed to pursue every available avenue to retain the race and to meet with F1's ringmaster in a last-ditch bid to save the day.

“We are seeking a way to keep F1 in Turkey, and [the sports minister] is ready to do everything for this goal,” Tahincioðlu told Anatolia news agency. “We will invite Mr. Ecclestone to Turkey. We want to conclude our negotiations.

“There has been a loss in commercial volume due to the poor interest in the F1 race in Turkey. The fee Mr. Ecclestone demands from Turkey would become reasonable if we could expand this [commercial] volume in his favour. [Kýlýç] suggested beginning publicity and promotional campaigns to raise attendance and earnings.”



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