Analysis: Turkey Eyes Benefits of F1

Turkey hosts its first Formula One Grand Prix this weekend and believes the event will generate serious money further down the road

Analysis: Turkey Eyes Benefits of F1

Sunday's race at the $70 million (USD) Istanbul Speedpark could eventually translate into $3 billion in additional revenues for an already booming tourism sector, industry representatives say.

"This event will make a big contribution to this country and for the economy," Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told a news conference. "People talk about the financial value but you can't put a value on it in terms of the publicity which it brings to the country."

Turkey expects to generate some $18 billion from tourism this year, and events like Formula One are expected to provide a massive boost in terms of free advertising.

The arrival of Ferrari's seven times World Champion Michael Schumacher and the rest of the Grand Prix circus is also being trumpeted as a major boost for the country's international sporting profile.

At the same time, officials are playing down security concerns fuelled by a series of bomb attacks across Turkey in recent months.

They say all necessary measures have been taken in a country used to holding international events from NATO summits to the Eurovision Song Contest. The Aegean city of Izmir is currently hosting the Universiade world student games.

"We are ready for Formula One. Every measure has been taken in terms of security, customs, health, power and telecommunications," Istanbul Governor Muammer Guler said.

Sporting Prestige

Turkish attention is focused as much on the benefits of a global event watched in 200 countries and expected to attract 40,000-60,000 visitors and revenues of around $80-120 million.

The event provides an opportunity to attract investment to the largely residential Asian side of Istanbul, where the track is located, and which often loses out to the European side of the city in investment terms.

Sporting prestige is feeding into growing Turkish self-confidence fuelled by a booming economy and anticipation of the start of European Union membership talks on October 3rd.

As well as the Grand Prix, Turkey already hosts a round of the World Rally Championship and will also welcome the first MotoGP race in Istanbul in October.

Even if Turkey has no Grand Prix driver, there will still be a home interest on race day when Jason Tahincioglu does a demonstration run in a Jordan after trying out the car at Silverstone this month.

Tahincioglu, who races in the junior British Formula Renault series, is son of Turkish motorsport federation head Mumtaz Tahincioglu.

Anti-Clockwise

The undulating 5.4-km circuit has been designed by German architect Hermann Tilke, the creative force behind Malaysia's Sepang, Bahrain's Sakhir and the lavish Shanghai track.

The country has invested 300 million new lira ($220 million USD) in the track, surrounding infrastructure and roads, and the preparations have drawn praise from the sport's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

The Istanbul track features 14 turns - eight lefts and six rights, with the cars expected to reach speeds of up to 320km/h. The lap will run anti-clockwise - only the third race to do so after San Marino and Brazil.

The character of the track should be further enhanced by plenty of gradients, with the track built on four different ground levels.

"I haven't seen much of it but I know that it's quite hilly and apparently has long fast turns. And that sounds good for a start," said Schumacher. Organisers have conducted a major publicity campaign in the build-up to Sunday's race.

Red Bull driver David Coulthard drove his racing car, with the Turkey tourism logo on the side, along Istanbul streets lined with Formula One fans and across the suspension bridge linking the city's European and Asian shores.

"This is going to be one of the most difficult tracks on the calendar," the Scot said of the new circuit. "It will be very challenging, partly because of all the changes of gradient."

shares
comments
Badoer Kicks Off Fiorano Test

Previous article

Badoer Kicks Off Fiorano Test

Next article

Button Approved Barrichello Move to BAR

Button Approved Barrichello Move to BAR
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Daren Butler
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Plus

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Plus

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021
How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his team-mate's F1 career climb Plus

How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his team-mate's F1 career climb

Kimi Raikkonen’s emergence as a Formula 1 star in his rookie campaign remains one of the legendary storylines from 2001, but his exploits had an unwanted impact on his Sauber team-mate’s own prospects. Twenty years on from his first F1 podium at the Brazilian GP, here’s how Nick Heidfeld’s career was chilled by the Iceman

Formula 1
Apr 1, 2021