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Turkish GP return in doubt already...

6 December 2012


Turkey's hopes of regaining its place on the F1 calendar appear to be in doubt already after the countries sports minister said the government will not help fund its return.

Speculation the Turkish Grand Prix could be revived intensified on Wednesday, when the FIA's World Motor Sport Council announced a date for an additional race in Europe.

A race at Istanbul Park was believed to be favourite to fill that void, especially as earlier this week, businessman Vural Ak said he was talking to F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone about a return having taken over the lease of the circuit, with a decision expected from the commercial rights holder 'next week'. However despite his assertions the Turkish government is prepared to put $13.5 million in the pot that has now been denied.

“If it wants to, the private sector can bring F1 [back to Turkey],” sports minister Suat Kilic told reporters on Thursday. “But there is no question of us paying the cost of the rights which have been proposed to a private company to bring F1.

“Our government paid $13.5 million a year to the organisers for five years for the rights. In exchange for that, all the income went to the organisers, so the state did not get any benefit from it.”

The Turkish Automobile Sports Federation meanwhile has said the decision will ultimately rest with Turkey's Prime Minister.

“TOSFED is endeavouring to bring a race back to our country [next] year and in the coming years, having so far held seven races at Istanbul Park,” Berberoglu said in a statement on the TOSFED website.

“Yesterday Mr Vural Ak - the operator with the Istanbul Park circuit - had a meeting with Formula One rights holder Bernie Ecclestone.

“Everybody knows that what is needed for its presence in the F1 race calendar for 2013 and following years is a guarantee and approval of the required budget at the government level. This will develop according to the prime minister's decision,” he added.


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