F1 Drivers to Play Charity Football Match at Ali Sami Yen

Following their enjoyable football match ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix two weeks ago, the F1 drivers' football team will return to action later today. As announced by the race organizers during a Monday press conference, the Nazionale Piloti is to play another charity match this week, due to take place on the famous Ali Sami Yen stadium in Istanbul.

The drivers' team will take on a Turkish all-star side, whose “footballers” are yet to be announced. As for the Nazionale, the team will be comprised of basically the same drivers as in Monte Carlo, including two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg (Williams), Felipe Massa (Ferrari), Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), Giancarlo Fisichella (Force India), Jarno Trulli (Toyota) and Sebastien Bourdais (Toro Rosso).

As every time in the past, the match will be played for charity purposes, as the raised funds will all be donated to children's charities. More than 26,000 Formula One fans are expected to be present on the Ali Sami Yen (home of Turkish first division club Galatasaray) on Wednesday.

All is good when it comes to close-to-the-fans events, but not even close to it when considering the attendance expected for this weekend's Turkish Grand Prix. As revealed by the race organizers, less than 40,000 people are expected to make the stands in the Istanbul Otodrom, one of the lowest attendance in the F1 calendar.

This is probably why the Turkish organizers have admitted, a few months ago, that the circuit will likely not renew their deal with the Formula One Management (FOM) from 2011 onwards. As revealed by track general manager Can Guclu in an interview with The Times newspaper, all motor racing events held at the Otodrom during the past 3 years “lost a lot of money”.

While owned by the Istanbul chamber of commerce, the circuit is currently rented by F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, which makes a potential F1 quit from the Otodrom highly unlikely.
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