Turkey targets Grand Prix return in 2013

Turkey targets Grand Prix return in 2013

4 December 2012 – Turkish businessman Vural Ak is aiming to revive the country's Grand Prix next season, having purchased an 11-year lease on the Istanbul Park circuit. With New Jersey's postponement and a French Grand Prix bid failing to materialise, he is hopeful of securing a long-term deal with Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

Bernie Ecclestone
"Mr. Ecclestone is looking at a seven-year contract," Ak explained. "He told me he wanted 26 million dollars 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 dollars out of my own pocket - I am not thinking in terms of making a lot of money. The government will contribute 13.5 million dollars. Therefore we will be stuck somewhere in the middle."

Ak, speaking to local media last week, said he was optimistic of receiving a 'positive decision' from Ecclestone in the coming days, with contract discussions ongoing.

Formula 1 last visited Istanbul Park in 2011
"We are hoping to have a positive decision from Mr. Ecclestone next week," he added of the negotiations. "I have guaranteed him a minimum of 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."

Turkey last hosted a Grand Prix in 2011, with Sebastian Vettel triumphing for Red Bull. This week, the FIA Annual General Assembly is being held in the city of Istanbul.

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