Turkish Grand Prix Could Return If Organizers, Ecclestone Can Reach Financial Agreement
The Turkish Grand Prix could return to the F1 schedule next year "provided the organisers can reach agreement" with F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone over money, according to the AFP. The Turkish Automobile Federation (TOSFED) said in a statement that Ecclestone and the new circuit manager, businessman Vural Ak, "reached agreement on all matters relating to the race." However, it is up to the Turkish government to "give the green light to releasing the requisite funds" (AFP, 12/6). REUTERS' Daren Butler wrote Turkey Sports Minister Suat Kilic 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 F1 calendar next season. Turkish race organizers have said that "staging the grand prix would depend on whether the government made funds available." Local media reported the Istanbul track operator as saying that the government would provide $13.5M in funding. However, Kilic told reporters on Thursday that the race was "purely a matter for the private sector." Kilic said, "If it wants to, the private sector can bring Formula One. 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" (REUTERS, 12/6).
AN AUSTRIAN TRADEMARK: EUROSPORT's Christian Sylt reported Formula One Licensing, the intellectual property division of the company which runs F1, has "registered a trademark to the name Austrian Grand Prix -- a move which paves the way for the historic race to return." Formula One Licensing registered a pan-European trademark for the title "Grosser Preis von Österreich" which means "Grand Prix of Austria" in the country’s native language of German. A slot for the Austrian Grand Prix became available on Wednesday when the '13 calendar was released with a gap on July 21 for a race yet to to be confirmed. Red Bull triple world champion Sebastian Vettel was present for the inauguration of its Austrian track and recently said, “I don't know why we don’t go there. For us it would be great for it to be our home Grand Prix. The track is completely Formula One compatible” (EUROSPORT, 12/6).
SCHEDULING CONFLICT: In Austin, Dave Doolittle noted Circuit of Americas officials are trying to move the date of next year's F1 race to "avoid a scheduling conflict with a University of Texas home football game." The Austin F1 race is scheduled for Nov. 17, putting it on "a collision course with University of Texas football," which has a home game against Oklahoma State scheduled for Nov. 16. Circuit of Americas Chair Bobby Epstein said, "Circuit of the Americas has expressed our strong preference for an alternate race date in 2013” (AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 12/5).