Yes to Turkey, No to Mexico for Future F1 Races
Red Bull driver Mark Webber of Australia steers his past empty stands during his practice session.
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ISTANBUL: Turkey can expect to stay on the Formula One calendar long-term despite attracting poor crowds, commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone said on Friday.
However Mexico is unlikely to reappear on an extended calendar any time soon.
“We are talking about signing a 10-year deal with them (Turkey),” the Briton told reporters on a visit to the Istanbul Park media centre. The current contract runs out next year.
Ecclestone said ticket sales were better than last year, when organisers said just 36,000 three-day passes were sold.
However the circuit, near Istanbul’s second airport on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, had a deserted feel about it on Friday with some stands lacking a single spectator.
“It’s not good but you’ve got to remember that if you’d have come here 10 years ago and said to somebody ‘Formula One’, they wouldn’t have known what you were talking about,” said Ecclestone.
“It takes a long time to get into, for people to start to understand.”
With a record-equalling 19 races at present and India due to enter next year before the United States returns to the calendar in 2012 with a race in Austin, Texas, the calendar could expand into the 20s.
France and Russia are hoping to figure in future while an African race has also been mooted.
Williams chief executive Adam Parr told reporters earlier that 24 races had been suggested as a possibility in discussions with teams.
Asked about a return to Mexico, which last hosted a grand prix in 1992, Ecclestone said: “I doubt it. You never know but it’s not on the horizon at the moment.”