A meeting between Chase Carey of new F1 owners Liberty Media and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has raised prospects of the Turkish Grand Prix returning to the calendar.
Also in the meeting with Erdogan and Carey were Serkan Yazici, the president of Turkey’s automobile club TOSFED, and Istanbul Park circuit operator Vural Ak. Akif Cagatay Kilic, the youth and sports minister of Erdogan’s AK Party, posted details the meeting on social media.
F1 previously raced at the purpose-built Istanbul Park circuit between 2005 and 2011. The race saw poor attendance figures over its final years on the calendar.
Earlier this year Lewis Hamilton urged F1’s new owners to prioritise circuits which could attract large audiences. He cited the Turkish race as an example of the opposite.
“We used to go to Turkey and there would be 4,000 people there,” said Hamilton. “I don’t know if there’s less of a love there or if it’s too expensive for those people but I think we need to be in places where there are actual fans where they want to have a race.”
Turkey has been in a state of emergency since an attempted coup against Erdogan and his government last summer in which hundreds of people were killed. The country will go to the polls in five days’ time to vote in a referendum which could substantially increase his political power.
Liberty Media is seeking to expand the Formula One calendar. But last week F1 confirmed the Malaysian Grand Prix will be dropped from the schedule after this year’s race.
Istanbul Park is one of 15 tracks licensed to hold F1 races which do not currently hold rounds of the world championship.
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