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Turkish return down to government

ESPN Staff
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The Turkish Grand Prix could return in 2013, with the date of July 21 made available by the FIA © Getty Images
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A return to the Formula One calendar for the Turkish Grand Prix from next season is subject to government approval.

The FIA's Annual General Assembly has been taking place in Istanbul this week and a potential return of the Turkish Grand Prix has been discussed, with the FIA opening up a spot on the calendar for an extra European round next season. The Turkish Automobile Sports Federation (TOSFED) has now confirmed that an agreement has been reached in principle but requires government approval.

TOSFED president Demire Berberoglu said that the return would not be a one-off but he hopes would see Turkey hosting a race "in the coming years".

"TOSFED is endeavouring to bring a race back to our country [next] year and in the coming years, having so far held seven races at Istanbul Park," Berberoglu said in a statement on the TOSFED website. "Yesterday Mr Vural Ak - the operator with the Istanbul Park circuit - had a meeting with Formula One rights holder Bernie Ecclestone.

"Everybody knows that what is needed for its presence in the Formula One race calendar for 2013 and following years is a guarantee and approval of the required budget at the government level. This will develop according to the prime minister's decision."

However, sports minister Suat Kilic told the Dogan news agency that the government would not be providing funding.

"If it wants to, the private sector can bring Formula One," Kilic was quoted as saying. "But there is no question of us paying the cost of the rights which have been proposed to a private company to bring Formula One.

"Our government paid $13.5 million a year to the organisers for five years for the rights. In exchange for that, all the income went to the organisers, so the state did not get any benefit from it."

The Turkish Prime Minister is expected to discuss the race's potential with Ecclestone at the FIA's prize-giving gala in Istanbul on Friday.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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