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Istanbul Park circuit under new management to revive F1 presence

The Istanbul Park circuit, once the host of the Turkish Grand Prix, now has new operators determined to revive Formula One in Türkiye by 2026, according to recent media reports.

Türkiye made a comeback to the sport in 2020 and 2021 after an absence of almost ten years.

However, it dropped off the calendar from 2022 onward, partly because of the substantial financial investment required to secure the contract, which rival venues like Qatar were able to fund.

Türkiye has since aimed to bring it back, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meeting the head of the governing body FIA, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, in March to discuss the return of both F1 and the World Rally Championship.

Can Bilim Eğitim Kurumları A.Ş., partly owned by Lale Cander, chairman of F1 tire provider Pirelli’s Turkish branch, won the tender to operate the circuit for the next 30 years for about $117.8 million, broadcaster Haberturk and’s Turkish channel reported on Tuesday.

It was the sole entrant, as former operators Intercity did not bid and other expected bidders appeared to pull out, according to the reports.

Neither Can Bilim Eğitim Kurumları nor Intercity could be immediately reached for comment.

Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said last month that the tender would be awarded to the bidder who could bring the sport back to Türkiye by 2026.

Istanbul Park had been popular among the drivers and saw increased attendance in 2020 and 2021 compared to the 2005-2011 run.

The new operators are tasked with reaching an agreement within a month to bring F1 back to Türkiye, and for every year from 2026 that the circuit does not host a Grand Prix, the operators will have to pay 25% of the F1-hosting contract fee to the administration, according to the tender conditions.

The new operators will also be allowed to build shopping malls and entertainment venues on the property under the tender.

Habertürk reported that a delegation from F1 owners Liberty Media would come to Istanbul following the current Muslim holy month of Ramadan to inspect the circuit.

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