Turkish GP faces axe next year

"It looks like the Formula One race will not be held in Istanbul next year," Murat Yalcintas said on his Twitter account. There was no official statement but the Chamber of Commerce confirmed the comments separately to Reuters. Ecclestone's office was closed for the Easter holiday.

The ‘Hurriyet’ daily quoted Yalcintas as saying the government had rejected a bid by Ecclestone to double the payment to stage the race to $26 million from $13 million.

"Because it found this figure very high it looks like it (finance ministry) will not make the payment. That is the reason the race is not happening," he said. "Formula One says goodbye to Istanbul," said a headline in the ‘Haberturk’ newspaper.

Ecclestone said last May that Turkey could expect to stay on the F1 calendar long-term despite attracting poor crowds at the circuit near Istanbul's second airport on the Asian side of the Bosphorus strait.

In 2009, a mere 36,000 three-day passes were sold — a smaller turnout than at some of the pre-season tests in Spain — and last year some of the stands were entirely empty.

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