Turkish Grand Prix organisers planning for 100,000 fans; tickets just £3 per day
The organisers of this year's returning Turkish Grand Prix are hopeful of a 100,000 crowd for the mid-November event at Istanbul Park.
Following a nine-year absence, Turkey stepped forward as one of the countries to host a grand prix on what is now a finalised 17-race calendar despite the problems faced this year due to Covid-19.
While Vural AK, chairman of circuit owners Intercity, is aiming for a six-figure crowd, GPFans understands such a number is merely aspirational, and that an audience of around 60-80,000 may work as a compromise with F1 and the FIA under the circumstances. Ak claims 20,000 of those could be accommodated from overseas.
"We plan to host 100,000 people by applying the highest level of measures," said AK, speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, and reported by Turkish sports website mackolik.com. "This is dependent on our continued successful fight against the disease.
"Our race, along with those in Portugal and Russia, will be held with spectators. For this reason, Formula 1 management has placed great importance on being able to hold a safe event for the fans, with the support of our public institutions.
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"Had it not been for the pandemic, we believe that 220,000 people would have watched the race."
Ak's statement is a bold one given the decline in spectator numbers over the years which ultimately led to it being withdrawn from the calender after a six-year run, and despite the circuit being one of the most demanding in the eyes of the drivers.
In a bid to attract such a high crowd, tickets that are due to go on sale next week are to be priced at 30 Turkish lira (£3) per day.
"So that our people can share this excitement as much as they wish, as a result of the intense meetings we have had with Formula 1 management, the ticket prices have been set at 30 lira per day for certain points of the track," added Ak.
"By paying only 90 lira [for the three days], fans will experience both the excitement of Formula 1 and other surprises we have prepared for the participants.
"This project is without any expectation of profit. It's more for the publicity and prestige of our country."
Ak, who has confirmed it was his company that struck a deal with F1 on this occasion compared to the Turkish government previously, believes the running of a successful event this year will lead to the signing of a new long-term deal from next season.
"We have done our part," said Ak. "All fees to Formula 1 will be paid by us.
"We are happy to organise this huge event without creating a financial burden on our state, but we need the support of all public and private sector players to make this a much more successful event.
"If we organise the race successfully, we will open the door to a long-term contract that will begin next year. But for now, we have only signed a one-year contract."
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