Turkish GP drawing low numbers

Updated: May 28, 2010, 11:27 AM ET
Associated Press

ISTANBUL -- The Turkish Grand Prix will remain on the Formula One calendar despite a history of poor attendance.

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone said Friday that talks were under way to secure a 10-year contract extension with the Istanbul Park Circuit. The current deal runs out after this year's race.

"We'll be here again next year," Ecclestone said at the Istanbul Park Circuit.

With few fans in the grandstands for Friday's opening practice, Ecclestone pleaded for patience and insisted ticket sales were up this year.

"It's not good, but it takes a long time" to build a fan base in a country without a history of F1, Ecclestone said. "Let's wait till Saturday or Sunday. It'll be better than last year."

The Turkish GP has been held since 2005.

Meanwhile, Ecclestone said more races could be added to the 19-race calendar next season. The United States GP is returning in 2012 after a deal was signed to build a circuit in Austin, Texas.

"Not being in America is wrong for a global sport," Williams chief executive officer Adam Parr said. "So, well done to Bernie because just when you think he's given up the case, he comes up with a fantastic deal."

A second race in the U.S. is being considered.

"For Red Bull it's very important, it's a major market," Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost said. "I always said we would need two Grand Prix in America, next on the East side."

Between 1976 and 1984, the U.S. hosted at least two races. Three were held in 1982, when Las Vegas also held a race.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press