Why Was the Turkish Grand Prix Dropped From the F1 Calendar?

Published 09/28/2021, 10:26 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Red Bull’s Alexander Albon in action during the race REUTERS/Clive Mason


Another gripping race awaits us as Formula 1 heads to Istanbul for the Turkish Grand Prix. After the 2011 season, the circus headed to the venue last season for a thrilling race. Now, racing with spectators, F1 makes its way to Istanbul Park. However, racing in October wasn’t a part of the original plan.

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The Turkish GP was originally scheduled for the weekend of June 13. However, because of the worsening COVID-19 situation in the country, the second Austrian GP took its place. The race in Istanbul was a replacement itself; one put in place of the race in Montreal.

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Further, the UK government had imposed travel restrictions on Turkey; as the UK houses seven teams’ headquarters, the situation wasn’t ideal. As the intensity of the problem has died down, Turkey made its way back to the calendar, this time to replace the Singapore GP. A fated location on the F1 program!

Now, placed perfectly after a rainy race in Sochi, fans often likened the wet tracks at the Intercity Park to an ice rink. What will be another slippery race for our drivers; the championship battle is set to be more interesting.

Why did F1 stop racing in Istanbul for the Turkish Grand Prix?

Before the empty 2020 race, F1 cars last hit the tarmac in Istanbul in 2011. The eight-year hiatus was a result of discord between the organizers and the FIA. The race organizers claimed that the hosting fee was too high, while Bernie Ecclestone was skeptical about the lack of profits made due to poor promotion and the relocation of the circuit.

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Further, in 2013, the Turkish government disapproved of F1’s deal to host a race in Tuzla. The project would cost Turkey large amounts of money, around 20 million dollars. However, with the lack of state approval, the project fell through.

Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – Racing Point’s Lance Stroll leads Racing Point’s Sergio Perez, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, Renault’s Esteban Ocon and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas at the start of the race REUTERS/Tolga Bozoglu

Nonetheless, both parties were glad to hold the race in 2020. The race organizers had said, The circuit is one of the most valuable investments of our country and we are very excited about the prospect of the Grand Prix. We have always kept the circuit active and prepared as if the races could resume at any moment.”

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All these setbacks – the issues in 2011, the canceled races in 2021 – lead us to one moment: the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix. An intense race for a dramatic season. A perfect match for the perfect weekend.

Watch this story: F1 Driver Salaries Revealed: How Much Do Lewis Hamilton & Co. Earn?

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Shreya Sanjeev

470 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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