Mark Webber, Red Bull, Shanghai, 2011

Turkish GP too expensive for locals, says Webber

2011 Turkish Grand Prix

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Mark Webber, Red Bull, Shanghai, 2011
Mark Webber, Red Bull, Shanghai, 2011

Mark Webber says the Turkish Grand Prix attracts few spectators because ticket prices are too high.

Webber said “Unfortunately I think it?s a pretty expensive race for locals to attend, which means the atmosphere is often not what it could be.

“It?s a bit of a shame, as the drivers look forward to going there – I know I am.”

There is doubt over the future of the Turkish Grand Prix as Bernie Ecclestone is trying to increase the fee for holding the race.

Webber added: “I like Istanbul Park ?ǣ there are a lot of undulations, which makes the track a little bit more challenging in places.

“The circuit includes turn eight, which is a very, very long corner with multiple apexes and is very high speed, which puts added strain on the tyres and the drivers? necks.

“It?s also a corner that rewards accuracy with your racing line if you get it right early in the corner.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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39 comments on “Turkish GP too expensive for locals, says Webber”

  1. I like the track. Unfortunately the quality of the design of the circuit is not related to the number of people that attend the race as there are other factors, like ticket prices as Webber says.

    1. Exactly, Hungary and Catalunya are terrible, but they’re full.

      1. Talking about the circuits* not country or city or whatever, before anyone says.

      2. Hungary? Terrible? It’s one of my favourites!

        1. Its great track to race on GP4 and other video games, but in reality it does produce a lot of dull races. Hopefully this year, the DRS and Pirelli’s should make it a much more interesting race.

    2. Indeedy, Chinese GP changed their price structure, hey presto packed out stands. It was awesome.

    3. The only part of the desing really influencing visitors might be the fact that the enormous run-off makes the grandstands stay very far from the action.

      1. 3 things make people go to races…

        1) Home drivers
        2) Certain prefered drivers…. and Ferrari
        3) ‘Historic’ circuits… i.e. spa, monza, Monaco

        It’s no suprise that even in testing in Spain lots of people went and cheered on Alonso in a Ferrari, etc…

        More people went to the race in Australia because Webber got a good car. Germans have become more interested since their were actually Germans in F1

        Some people will go for the atmosphere or becasue its a night race or whatever, but not as many as Spainards who want to see Alonso or Brits who want to see Hamilton and Button or Japanese who want to see Japanese teams with Japanese drivers. Brazil loved to see Senna race, and goes to see Barichello and Massa.

        I’m guessing the reason why not many go to the GP in Turkey is that there aren’t exactly any home drivers or teams to cheer on, no one for people to want to win.

        Sure many go for a certain person because of them but to get people interested ot takes either a giant personality or someone whom they immediately feel a connection.

        Many Australians go for Webber, many Brits Hamilton, Button and Di Resta, sure there are fans from other countries but just like watching the Olympics or Commonwealth Games many feel a connection and want their driver to win

        1. Having a home team/driver undoubtedly helps things but it doesn’t completely explain everything. Indy always got a great attendance – OK the oval track is legendary, but the GP circuit wasn’t. And Sepang has always been well attended since the race began.

          The problem with Turkey is that there wasn’t much of a fanbase there before F1 arrived, and little has been done to grow one since then. More afforable ticket prices would certainly be a start – as we saw in China this year.

  2. Nice to see drivers concerned about their fans. Good one Mark.

    1. Agree.

      I also think that once Mark Webber retires he could write a book entitled ‘How to make friends with people in high places’.

      It appears that with 20 tracks on the calender and 1 new next year and 18 already in place Bernie is simply setting up a

      Turkey VS Bahrain

      And whomever does deliver more moeny gets to keep their spot. Otherwise he wouldn’t have double Turkey and/or kept Bahrain hanging longer than their May 1 deadline (which he has given that extension for now)

      1. The deadline is for this year’s race. Bahrain will have a race next year, that is unless circumstances repeat themselves.

        1. not necessarily, Bernie may well have put into the contract that the event will run within a certain period on the calender each year from 20** til 20** or until
          a) aaaaaaaaaaa
          b) bbbbbbbbbbb
          c) ccccccccccc

          In the event that the Gran Prix can’t be run a date will be determined to decide when and if the Gran Prix can be run that year

          d) ddddddddddd
          e) eeeeeeeeeee
          f) fffffffffff

          In the event that the Gran Prix can’t be run in a certian year the dicision whether to continue with the Gran Prix will be

          g) gggggggggggg
          h) hhhhhhhhhhhh
          i) iiiiiiiiiiii

          I would suprised as if Bahrain escaltes and then subsides for a small amount of time the political pressure would be such that Bernie wouldn’t want F1’s brand to be tarnished as seen as going ito the country.

  3. Went to this last year and I have to say I enjoyed it. It’s a pity the track is in the middle of nowhere and that the ticket prices are high. Turkey is a beautiful country and the track is excellent for racing.

    1. lol, one of my best holiday experiences was heading off into the middle of nowhere in Turkey, highly recommended. For me a great country and great track.

  4. It seems Mr. Webber has not heard that BE wants to increase race fee by a whooping 50% to $26.5m

    Does this mean even less spectators Mr. Webber?

    1. by a whooping 50%

      I think you’ll find he’s trying to increase it by 100% – i.e., double it.

      1. Yeah Keith, I really did not know the initial amount as these contracts are normally secrete, but I stand corrected :(

    2. Good point BBQ2, There’s to many money grabbing people in F1 starting with Bernie of course, followed by some drivers as well.That’s why race events are so expensive and hence tickets cost. Bernie and his cronies are pricing the s&%t out of F1. Shame

  5. Would I be right in thinking this would be the first Asian race to be dropped since the expansion from 16 races?

    Inevitable but a shame. Even if it had been packed it probably would have gone because of the hosting fee. Fact is Bernie needs to make room for Austin next year and it was an easy target. Thankfully it looks like Valencia will be the one to may way for Sochi. All in all F1 will be trading like-for-like circuits in the next few years, with a slight improvement in quality.

    1. I mean, on the Asian side of Eurasia, before I get into a political mess!

      1. It’s treated as a European race by the teams, in the sense that they bring “big” upgrades to it, and they truck it from their bases to Turkey. On the McLaren Twitter, they’ve been updating truckside on the long journey from London to Istanbul.

      2. Tis a shame though, in my opinion Istanbul Park is a genuinely great circuit at home on any F1 calender.

        Valencia, an by the looks of em’ Austin and Sochi, not so much.

        1. Austin looks good. Very interesting first corner at least! Can’t remember the Sochi lay-out.

  6. I went last year and had a great time. Its a shame it isn’t better supported, but I don’t think ticket prices are the reason. The Turkish GP is one of the cheapest races there is to attend – a weekend general admittance ticket is under £30, and for the silver 8 grandstand at the end of the back straight & a prime overtaking spot (scene of Webber / Vettel in 2010) its only just over the £100 mark. Much better than most other tracks. Prices in supermarkets / shops not much different to the UK, so I don’t think the standard of living / income levels over there can be much different to put this out of reach of the masses if they wanted to go.

    1. Webber said “Unfortunately I think it’s a pretty expensive race for locals to attend

      The point is in the quote. what is cheap to you and me, is not cheap to the Turkish people.

  7. Turkey needs a title sponsor to pay part of the $26+ million deal because it’s a great circuit and some races there have been very good.

    Who knows with the tyre rules and potential Turn 8 blowouts?

    1. last sentence is linked to 2011 race.

  8. Are you going to this year’s Turkish Grand Prix? Fine other F1 fans who are here:

    Keith, I think you might want to change the ‘fine’ to ‘find’. Looks like the GP is pretty expensive for spectators anyways, the last thing they need is people from f1fanatic fining them. :)

    1. Quite right! Fixed :-)

  9. I would actually be gutted to see Istanbul Park disappear. It’s probably my favourite circuit but if it’s not doing business (regardless of price tag) then it’s just not feasible to keep it.

    I would love to go but it doesn’t look like I could do any time soon.

    1. .. i pretty much agree with what you said!

    2. I was thinking of going to Turkey this year, but it just does not fit in for me with its early time slot.

      A shame really, I would have driven there by car and made a bit of a trip out of it.

  10. When they meant that there won’t be Turkish GP next year, it may sound like a ploy to attract more fans to come and watch the last edition of Turkish GP….same as albert park.

    1. for sure, there will be a Turkish GP next year

  11. resureksiyon
    29th April 2011, 1:21

    As a Turkish F1 fan, i can not agree more with Webber.

    Yes, track is really far from the city center, hell, far from even the suburban areas outside “the city”. But hey, i’m ok with waking up early in the morning for the race day.

    The problem is to me that, there are no Turkish teams or drives, not even a sponsor that can atrract more visitors/spectators. I realized this fully when i was in Maranello. People there live with their F1 team.

    Coming to the ticket prices, i think base price of 90-100 euros are not really expensive, say, compared to a big football game. But still, 100 euros can get you a decent ticket/spot for a football match. What you get with your 100 euros at Istanbulpark is just not doing for me.

    You can check the prices form this link here;

  12. I do too like the track but yes the local organizer need to do a lot to promote it.

  13. I was in Chinese F1 this year. Grand stand prices are $500 USD per seat. I thought that was very expensive. I got tickets for outside turn 1 @ $150 USD. I remember back in 2000 and 2001 Indy F1 in US. I paid $85 for grand stand seats across the pit lane. Now, I learned $500 was reduced price. I can’t imagine what it used to cost.

    I learned paddock club at IndyF1 was $3500 a day. I remember seeing about $5000 a day for China 2011. Still not $85 to $500 parity.

  14. You have to give Bernie credit, he gets people to spend millions to build and maintain a track so he has somewhere to produce his TV show which he sells around the world for millions and then he charges the track owners millions for the privilege of letting him stage his show there. I struggle to see how this came about as my first memories of F1 viewing ( actually Formula Tasman- same teams and drivers ) were at Warwick Farm outside (then) Sydney, I can’t remember the cost but I could afford it even on my junior white-collar slave wage and there was no international TV coverage, no team sponsors and no advertising on the cars. How did they do that then and now with team and car sponsors and the whole world watching can’t they do it now?

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