Turkish Grand Prix chiefs say that negotiations are ongoing with Bernie Ecclestone for the race to remain on the Formula 1 schedule and that they remain hopeful of winning a reprieve for 2012 after the race was dropped from next year's proposed F1 calendar.
With Austin, Texas, added to the list of races in 2012 and pressure mounting to keep the calendar at 20 events, the Turkish race was missing from the latest calendar unveiled by Ecclestone during the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend. Turkey's current contract with F1 expires at the end of 2011, and it is understood that circuit chiefs had stalled earlier in the year on agreeing to a new deal. All this has now increased the pressure on the track's owners to find a solution. Istanbul Park is little used outside of the grand prix weekend.
Despite the speculation, Ferruh Gundogan, Director of SMEs Department in the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, insists that nothing has been concluded, and the circuit is still hopeful it will win a reprieve for 2012.
"Certainly we are hopeful about the 2012 Turkish GP, but it depends on the result of ongoing negotiations," Gundogan told AUTOSPORT. "Actually, [the] ultimate 2012 Formula 1 calendar has not been declared yet. Negotiations between the Turkish Ministry of Sports and FOA are ongoing. It is hardly possible to say that the Turkish GP has dismissed the opportunity."
Gundogan said that the Ministry of Sport continue to place a high value on hosting an F1 grand prix, and that it was searching for ways to expand the commercial reach of the sport within the country as a means of trying to settle negotiations.
"As president of the investor institution, I paid effort to inform the Turkish government and audience about the importance of Formula 1. Sharing the same objectives, the sporting authorities are in close contact with the Ministry of Sport and have high praise of Formula 1 racing. We are discussing alternatives to expand the commercial volume of Formula 1 as an incentive to settle negotiations."