ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
The operators of the Istanbul Park Circuit opens a tender to rent the venue for 10 years as the seven-year contract with the Formula One Administration was not renewed last year due to dispute on a nearly doubled contract price. The tender is expected to be finalized in September, says the Turkish Automobile Sports Federation head
This file photo shows a snapshot from a Formula One race in Istanbul Park Circuit in 2008. Ecclestone of the Formula One nearly doubled the contract price to $26 million last year, which was not accepted by the operators. AA photo
The Istanbul Park circuit, which was built to host Turkish Formula One Grand Prix, has failed to fulfill the ambitious goals set when it was inaugurated in August 2005, and operators are now putting the venue out for rent.
The Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (İTO) and Formula Investment Inc. (Fiyaş), the operators of the venue of the Turkish Grand Prix (Istanbul Park), have put the Formula One track up the for rent for 10 years, after the Turkish Grand Prix was removed from the 20-race calendar for the 2012 season, Anatolia news agency reported Sept. 7.
Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One commercial rights holder, withdrew from operating the venue due to financial disagreements, which has put the future of races at the track into question. But the founders of the venue have ramped up efforts to create revenues from the unproductive investment in Kurtköy, a district on the Asian side of Istanbul.
Fiyaş has put the 10-year rent agreement regarding the operation rights of the Istanbul Park to tender. The Turkish Automobile Sports Federation suggested to the Ministry of Sports that they rent the venue, but the suggestion was not accepted by the ministry.
The tender process is planned to be finalized by the end of September, the Turkish Automobile Sports Federation President Mümtaz Tahincioğlu said.
“Fiyaş has put the race circuit to tender. [The company wants] 3 million Turkish Liras – plus value added tax – per year for the total period of the 10 year rent. We will continue to use the circuit by leasing it. We applied to the Ministry of Sports for them to rent it, but this was not accepted,” he said.‘Ecclestone wants deal’
“Bernie Ecclestone wants the Turkish Grand Prix to be included in the race calendar,” said Tahincioğlu, adding that Ecclestone wanted $26 million for the contract value, but that this may be brought down.
“There is no race with a low budget in Formula One. But Ecclestone wants to come to the table and reach an agreement,” he said.
The contract price was $13.5 million per year for the seven-year contract starting from 2005. However, Turkey was removed from the race list as negotiations to renew the contract were unfruitful.
Some $200 million was invested in the building of the circuit, and Turkey paid a total of $94.7 million in seven years. Istanbul Park was often criticized for not being used on occasions other than Formula One races, which left the giant investment idle for most of the year. In addition, races failed to attract enough spectators to fill the total capacity of 500,000.