Turkish gov’t will not pay for Formula One

Turkish gov’t will not pay for Formula One

Turkish gov’t will not pay for Formula One

AFP Photo

Turkey’s Youth and Sports Minister Suat Kılıç retracted a previous statement today that alleged the government would pay the fee to bring Formula One back to Turkey.

The government made payments to ensure the Turkish Grand Prix happened in the future, but will not do so again this time, Kılıç said, speaking to reporters during a visit to the Governorship of Gümüşhane.

“Formula One has been about the private sector, but at the beginning the government made a sacrifice to boost the sport in Turkey,” Kılıç said yesterday. “Our government has paid $13.5 million a year for five years, but the organization got all the income.”

“Right now, the [Istanbul Park] circuit is rented by a private company, so if that private company could bring Formula One back to Turkey if it wants,” he said. “But right now, there is no discussion about the government paying [for it].”

The statement came a day after daily Hürriyet quoted Vural Ak, the owner of the Intercity company who bought the administration rights of the Istanbul Park circuit, as saying the Turkish government was “likely to pay around $20 million,” an amount closer to the $26 million total fee asked by Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

Ecclestone has already said the planned New Jersey race would not be held until 2014 and that the gap in the calendar could be filled with the Istanbul Grand Prix.

The Turkish Grand Prix has been held every year between 2005 and 2011.