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Istanbul circuit to be "used car lot"

NEWS STORY
31/08/2015

Istanbul Park, which hosted seven rounds of the Formula One World Championship between 2005 and 2011, and described by Bernie Ecclestone as "the best race track in the world" is to be used as a car dealership.

Popular with drivers and TV viewers also, the track, which had a 155,000 capacity and was built at a cost of almost $300m, featured a number of corners similar to those found at other challenging circuits including Monza's Parabolica, Spa's Eau Rouge and even Laguna Seca's 'Corkscrew'.

Hermann Tilke said he designed the track to try to catch the drivers out, and over the years even the best were indeed caught out by its challenging nature.

However, the failure to put bums on seats, particularly in the case of locals, meant the circuit struggled, and despite hosting other series including MotoGP, DTM and World Touring Cars, the circuit slipped from the (F1) calendar in 2012 and has been pretty much out of use ever since.

Now, the facility has been leased by car rental company Intercity for 10 years, and on 9 September, the Istanbul Park Auto Market (IPOP) opens for business, a free shuttle service providing transport from various parts of the city.

"The main idea of this project is a car dealership, but one that is customer-oriented and with sound infrastructure," said IPOP Sales and Marketing Director Cevat Kabatas, according to Today's Zaman. "This is the first and most important difference that separates us from other car dealerships.

"To customers in the market for a vehicle, we present a variety of amenities. There will be auto experts, notary services, banks, tire and accessory sales, a car wash and detailed cleaning, light auto care facilities and insurance companies present at the dealership,"

All quite sad to be honest, yet indicative of the short-sighted nature of those so keen to fall for Bernie Ecclestone's sale's pitch and pump hundreds of millions into facilities before seriously considering whether the fans will come in sufficient numbers for the event to pay its way.

While most of the new additions are style over substance, Istanbul Park was a good track and surely deserved a better end. With most of Pirelli's tyres manufactured in Turkey, couldn't the track have been put to use for testing, especially with that wide variety of corners.

It was never F1 paradise, but it deserves more than becoming a used car lot.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Spindoctor, 01/09/2015 12:48

"Turkey, despite well-documented failings, clearly doesn't meet Bernie's current standards of Human Rights violations, Authoritarianism and general corruption. Must do better!

The "failure to put bums on seats" is probably an unvirtuous circle: without subsidy, seat prices are high, people in developing countries can't afford them, fewer bums = need for more subsidy etc.etc.

Bernie could charge less in order to try and establish enthusiasm in a populous and developing nation like Turkey, but choses instead to go for short-term profit in places like Azerbaijan which will drop off the calendar as soon as their overlords lose interest.

The F1 "Business" which was gifted to Bernie\CVC by FIA took the best part of 40 years to develop in Europe and Bernie is set to destroy it in less than 5. Huzzah, give the man a medal....."

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2. Posted by Yeyox02, 31/08/2015 23:03

"Congratulations Ecclestone. A very expensive F1 track that becomes a big car wash and a big second hand car dealership. At least dealers will have a world class track to test used cars."

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3. Posted by ARL, 31/08/2015 10:52

"A retirement hobby for any well-known former second hand car salesmen you care to think of? Answers on a postcard to CVC Towers."

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