The 2011 Turkish Grand Prix is history, and so may be the race from the Formula 1 calendar. The sanctioning fee, reported to be in excess of $20m per race, is not finding much support among the local authorities.
Kimi Raikkonen won the first edition of the Turkish Grand Prix in 2005. The initial seven-year deal started at just over $10m per race, with the now infamous ’10 per cent annual increase’ in fees clause – more like the Bernie claws.
The race, despite a great track in the Asian part of the city, is not well attended but that is to a large extent the result of highway robbery prices for tickets. Shelling $500-$1000 for a Grand Prix ticket will shock most Americans, let alone race fans in Turkey and Delhi.
The track’s Turn 8 has become a driver and fan favorite, much like Eau Rouge at Spa-Francorchamps. But Bernie’s FOM, Formula One Management, has neither time nor the need for feelings. Paul Ricard had a mile long straight, Osterreichring had the Hella Licht kurve, Indy had the history and the pagoda!
With races coming soon in F1 hot spots such as Delhi and Sochi, to the just added Korean “Love Hotel” Grand Prix, dropping events like Turkey and adding venues in oil rich nations like Kazakhstan and Angola is a prudent business decision.
Red Bull, the team that scored a one-two last Sunday, described the venue on its website; ‘The mighty Istanbul Park, complete with tumbleweeds and vast, empty grandstands.’
Time will tell what the scenery will be if the race is moved to neighboring nation that is eager to spruce up its image – and willing to pay for it – on the International arena.
Heck, it worked for Bahrain. Might do wonders for Bulgaria.
— Nasir Hameed
Greetings and SoFIA regards.