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Businessman seeks Turkish GP return

3 December 2012

A Turkish businessman is seeking to secure a return to the F1 calendar for the Turkish Grand Prix after purchasing the lease for the Istanbul Park circuit.

According to Autoweek, Vural Ak has secured an eleven-year lease on the circuit which hosted an F1 race from 2005 through to 2011 when it was then dropped from the calendar.

Ak, the chairman of Turkey's largest car rental company, is reported to have agreed a deal that will see him pay the circuit operator $9 million a year in rent and is eager to see the venue earn its place back on the F1 schedule.

“Mr Ecclestone is looking at a seven-year contract," Ak was quoted as telling the media on announcing the deal. "He told me he wanted $26 million to put on the race [in the first year], but said he was willing to make a little sacrifice from that figure. I will put in $5 million out of my own pocket – I am not thinking in terms of making a lot of money here. The government will contribute $13.5 million. Therefore we will be stuck somewhere in the middle.

“We are hoping to have a positive decision from Mr Ecclestone next week. I have guaranteed him a minimum 50,000 spectators on race day, but I expect about 80,000.

“As well as Formula 1, we will use the circuit for a round of the DTM series, as in the past, and we are planning many other events, including a new Turkish series. We think motorsport events at Istanbul Park will bring tens of thousands of people.”


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