Ecclestone's Demand Could See the End of Turkish Grand Prix

Antony Herbert@LeeUwishWritingAnalyst IIIJune 9, 2010

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - MAY 28:  F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is seen in the paddock following practice for the Turkish Formula One Grand Prix at Istanbul Park on May 28, 2010, in Istanbul, Turkey.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

The future of the Turkish Grand Prix has been cast into doubt following some startling revelations that were revealed today.  

Bernie Ecclestone has reportedly doubled the rent for the track’s services. He has accompanied this requirement with a threat to dispose of the circuits place on the Formula 1 calender if the £26 million fee is not met.

Such a substantial increase sounds like a bribe to most, as Bernie has proclaimed that India and Arabian countries are ready to take the place of Istanbul.

But hold on a minute, isn't Turkey the most ambitious and promising of all the new tracks? Shouldn’t its place be solidified and comfortable?

There is a strong view amongst the Formula 1 spectatorship that the circuit in Istanbul has created an exciting and eventful race weekend. Overtaking opportunities are vast in comparison to difficult tracks such as those in Hungary and Monte Carlo.

Essentially, it looks as though Ecclestone has pitted his entrepreneurial and stubborn view against that of the people that keep the sport alive, the fans.

Bernie seems not to care about the people who regard the Grand Prix of Turkey as one of the finest currently on the calender. Instead, it’s apparently all about the money for him.

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Even if he has ulterior motives, it will be hard to to ponder this view as having the most validity.

His staunch claim that he has no issue removing the track from the calender needs to ring alarms for those with an investment in the sport.

Those with monetary value must surely see the risk of replacing a well regarded track  with new Grand Prix events that may not live up to the high expectations required.

It is certain that Istanbul has not garnered as large a crowd as would have been liked at the circuit.

Yet, those of us who watch from our TV screens, after this years inspired race, will surely surge upwards. We now know of the intrigue and beauty that can evolve on race day.

The mad hatter has seemingly returned then, and in a detriment to the sport, he looks to throw away a track that is even streets ahead of other established alternatives.

Yunus Akgul, a sports director who was present at the meeting where Ecclestone made his intent clear, has said that Turkey will have no choice but to back down if the high annual fee demanded is sustained.

Adding to this, he proclaimed that an offer was made for Ecclestone to relinquish the operating rights that he holds to Istanbul Park. Was this born out of their worry that Ecclestone would put them under this intense decision if they let him keep hold of the tracks rights? Definitely.

It does make you wonder why he was allowed to gain access to the operating rights in the first place.

So let’s hope that now someone will see sense and alter Ecclestone’s ludicrous demand.

If not, it will be the death of a track, so full of promise, one that is still only just finding its footing and more importantly, one that is of great importance to the continuing spectatorship of the sport.

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