Turks crash 2013 race rumours
HOSTING FEES TOO MUCH: Turkey's sports minister has dashed any rumours about the unidentified 2013 European race being hosted in Turkey
Author: Daren Butler
ISTANBUL, Turkey - Turkey's sports minister has poured cold water on race organisers' hopes that the government would provide money to secure the return of the Turkish GP to the Formula 1 calendar in 2013.
The sport's governing body announced on Wednesday, December 5, 2012, that an unidentified European race had been penciled in for July 21 2013 subject to the agreement of national bodies, to bring the calendar back up to 20 races.
Turkish race organisers have said staging the GP would depend on whether the government made funds available. Local media reported the Istanbul track operator as saying the government would provide an equivalent of about R117-million in funding but sports minister Suat Kilic said the race was purely a matter for the private sector.
"If it wants to, the private sector can bring F1, but there is no question of us paying the cost of the rights which have been proposed to a private company to bring F1"
The Turkish Automobile Sports Federation said on its website that the GP, last held in 2011 before being dropped after a disagreement over hosting fees, had been discussed at a meeting of the International Automobile Federation..
The Turkish federation's chairman, Demire Berberoglu, said: "We are making every effort so that F1 races, which have been held seven times in our country, can be held at our Istanbul Park track (in 2013) and in future years."
An agreement had been reached between circuit operator Vural Ak and F1 rights owner Bernie Ecclestone but the government also had to play a part.
"Everybody knows that what is needed is a guarantee and approval of the required budget at government level, this will develop according to the prime minister's decision."
Kilic said: "Our government paid $13.5-million (R117-million) a year to the organisers for five years for the rights. In exchange for that, all the income went to the organisers, the state did not get any benefit from it."
The Istanbul Circuit, on the Asian side of the city, was highly regarded by teams and drivers for its challenging layout but the race failed to attract much local interest. Its reinstatement in 2013 would plug a gap left by the postponement to 2014 of a GP of America that was to have been held in New Jersey.