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Istanbul Park circuit gets new operators to bring back F1: report

- Reuters Ankara

The Istanbul Park circuit, the former home of the Turkish Grand Prix, has new operators tasked with bringing Formula One back to Turkiye by 2026, media reported yesterday.

Turkiye returned to the sport in 2020 and 2021 after nearly a decade away, but it fell off from 2022 onwards partly due to the tens of millions of dollars needed to secure the contract that competitor­s were able to finance.

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

Can Bilim Egitim Kurumlari AS, part 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 some $117.8mn, broadcaste­r Haberturk and’s Turkish channel reported yesterday.

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 Egitim Kurumlari nor Intercity could be immediatel­y reached by Reuters for comment. Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said last month that the tender would be awarded to the bidder who would be able to bring the sport back to Turkiye 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 Turkiye 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.

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