Despite earlier reports indicating that the woefully-patronised Turkish Grand Prix – in spite of its outstanding circuit design – staging its swansong F1 race next weekend, event officials seemingly have not completely ruled out being able to sort out a solution to keep the race in Istanbul.
Event organisers have been informed by the government that it will not stump up the $US26 million annual promotional fee – double this year’s payment – being mooted by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone. This in turn prompted speculation that the race would be dropped from next year’s calendar, or alternatively that this was Bernie’s way of creating an easy vacancy on the calendar for the return of the United States Grand Prix.
Now Murat Yalçintas – the head of Istanbul’s Chamber of Commerce and the original source of these rumours – is now claiming that now final decision on the race’s future has yet been reached.
“This year will be a turning point in the future of the Turkish Grand Prix,” he is quoted by AUTOSPORT as saying. “According to the results of these discussions, the Turkish GP may or may not continue.
“Both sides have not declared any official opinion yet. The only thing we can say is that Mr. Ecclestone insists on a [$US26 million] deal per year, and the Turkish government has not evaluated this proposal positively.
“It is really impossible to give a certain date,” he added, when asked when a definitive announcement was likely to be made. “Ultimately the F1 calendar has been announced at different dates in the past [by Formula One Administration].
“But we estimate it will be officially declared between August and September of 2011. So, taking into account the current problems related to Bahrain, discussions may last until the end of this summer.”
[Original image via Flickr]