Motor racing: Minister dismisses Turkey GP funding hopes

Thu Dec 6, 2012 9:38am EST
 
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By Daren Butler

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey's sports minister has poured cold water on race organizers' hopes that the government would provide funds to secure the return of the Turkish Grand Prix to the Formula One calendar next season.

The sport's governing body announced on Wednesday that an unidentified European race had been penciled in for July 21, subject to the agreement of national bodies, to bring the calendar up to 20 races.

Turkish race organizers have said staging the grand prix would depend on whether the government made funds available. Local media reported the Istanbul track operator as saying the government would provide $13.5 million in funding.

But Sports Minister Suat Kilic told reporters on Thursday the race was purely a matter for the private sector.

"If it wants to, the private sector can bring Formula One," Kilic was quoted as saying by the Dogan news agency.

"But there is no question of us paying the cost of the rights which have been proposed to a private company to bring Formula One."

The Turkish Automobile Sports Federation (TOSFED) said on its website (www.tosfed.org) that the grand prix - last held in 2011 before being dropped after a disagreement over hosting fees - had been discussed at a meeting of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) in Istanbul.

"We in TOSFED are making every effort so that Formula One races, which have been held seven times in our country until now, can be held at our Istanbul Park track...(in 2013) and in future years," chairman Demire Berberoglu said in a statement.   Continued...

 
Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany drives after a pit stop in the qualifying session of the Turkish F1 Grand Prix at the Istanbul Park circuit in Istanbul May 7, 2011. REUTERS/Valdrin Xhemaj/Pool