Turkish GP sold 40,000 tickets within six hours of sale

Organisers of the Turkish Grand Prix have announced that they sold over 40,000 tickets in just six hours after tickets for the return of Formula 1 to Istanbul were put on sale.

Turkish GP sold 40,000 tickets within six hours of sale
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After a nine-year absence, Turkey will return to the F1 calendar on 15th November at Istanbul Park.

Turkey is one of the several new or returning venues to be added to the 2020 schedule due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, joining Mugello, Imola, Portimao and the Nurburgring.

Vural Ak, the chairman of promoter Intercity, had said at a press conference last month that the public will be allowed at the venue and they were hoping for 100,000 spectators on race day - roughly half its full capacity of 220,000. Limited tickets for the event were priced at 30 Turkish Lira (TL) (£3) per day for a limited time and there was a huge demand for the entry-level tickets.  

Intercity has announced that it managed to sell 10,000 campaign tickets within the first hour, and added another 30,000 tickets on sale over the next five hours for a total of 40,000 tickets. Although the last Turkish GP in 2011 failed to attract spectators in abundance, Ak is adamant that the promoters can reach its planned goal of 100,000 trackside fans this year.

“We were planning to fill the full capacity, 220,000 seats, under normal circumstances but it’s not possible with COVID-19,” Ak said. “Before us, this organisation was without [an] owner. We are passionate and enthusiastic about this sport and we can organise it successfully. But, as you know, there is COVID-19. That’s why we hope to bring about 100,000 people.”  

While being open to the possibility of a spike in coronavirus cases forcing a change of plan, Ak said he believes protocols put in place could ensure a bumper crowd.

"We have to be prepared for anything," he said. "If the disease becomes worse than today, then the race can be done without spectators. However, we know the capacity of this track. Around 220,000 spectators can watch the race in the grandstands and in the open areas.

"At the moment for safety reasons, if we close some sections, about 100,000 spectators will be able to watch the race by following social distancing rules."

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