There will be much FIA activity in the next few days in Istanbul, Turkey, where the annual General Assembly takes place on Friday afternoon. This will be followed by the FIA Prizegiving Gala, which will take place in the Ciragan Palace Kempinski Hotel, located on the shores of the Bosphorus. This was once a residence of the sultans of the Ottoman Empire. The FIA delegates will be busy all week with a string of meetings that begin today, including various commissions and meetings of the two World Councils before the General Assembly itself.
The World Motor Sport Council should produce a final Formula 1 calendar for 2013 with some late moves going on to try to get races included, following the announcement that New Jersey will not be ready in time for next year.
One such project comes from local businessman Vural Ak, who recently purchased an 11-year lease on the Istanbul Park racing circuit, and is hoping to talk Bernie Ecclestone into putting the event back on the F1 calendar. The problem is money with Ecclestone wanting $26 million for the first year, although Ak says that this is negotiable. He says that he is willing to invest $5 million and the local government will pay $13.5 million, but this still leaves around $8 million to find. Ak says that he believes that he can bring in a crowd of 80,000 and aims to use the circuit all year round with other events, notably the DTM and a Turkish racing series. The track was used by F1 between 2005 and 2011, with the Formula One group taking over the promotion in 2007. Ak is the chairman and majority shareholder of the Intercity rent-a-car company. He has agree to rent the track from its owners for $9 million a year.
There has been much talk of a French Grand Prix but it seems that the Federation Francaise du Sport Automobile (FFSA) was not sufficient confident in any of the projects to put them forward to the World Council as neither Paul Ricard nor Magny Cours had the budget needed.