Istanbul Park's general director Can Guclu confirmed the possibility of Turkey losing the right to host an F1 race, as the initial deal with Ecclestone was only extended until 2011. Due to the economic downturn, it may be very difficult for Turkey to negotiate a further extension of its F1 deal with such a high number of countries pushing hard to squeeze into the F1 calendar.
“We are afraid that 2011 may be the last year of the staging of F1 in Istanbul. There is serious competition from such countries as South Africa, Russia, Bulgaria and South Korea. South Korea has a highly developed economy and they place importance on sporting events. The [football] world cup was held in there in 2002. And Russia has already started constructing a race course,” said Guclu in an interview for the aforementioned source.
“If we want the Turkish Grand Prix to stay on the calendar, we need to start working immediately. Or else, we cannot just begin negotiating for the race in the last year of the contract. We made a deal with Ecclestone in 2003 and the first race was organised in 2005. As you see, there is a four-year process in order to be included in the calendar. There is still nothing about extending the deal and no demand from either side,” added the Turkish official.
The Istanbul Park would therefore be added to the long list of venues that were scrapped off the F1 calendar in recent years, either partially (Nurburgring) or entirely (Indianapolis, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Magny-Cours and Silverstone).