Turkey ticket prices too high - Webber

By on Friday, April 29, 2011

Apr.29 (GMM) Ticket prices for the Turkish grand prix are too high, according to Mark Webber.

The Red Bull driver's comments come amid great uncertainty about the future of the event at Istanbul Park, with organisers saying the race next Sunday will be the last due to Bernie Ecclestone's doubling of the sanctioning fee.

The circuit is popular among the drivers and purists but Istanbul mayor Kadir Topbas said actual attendance has always been low because "Turkish people didn't give the races recognition".

FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh, however, blames a lack of promotion.

"Go around Istanbul and tell me how many billboards or advertisements you see," he told reporters in China two weeks ago.

But Australian Webber thinks the locals simply can't afford tickets.

"Unfortunately I think it's a pretty expensive race for locals to attend, which means the atmosphere is often not what it could be," he said on Thursday.

Ecclestone owns the long-term management lease to the circuit at present and insists he has done his bit by "subsidising" the sanctioning fee since the inaugural race in 2005.

And the Mirror quotes him as suggesting the local government could be in a better mood for the future after next weekend's event.

"When our first agreement was made, they subsidised ticket revenue so everyone was expecting a whole bunch of people to be there and if there wasn't, the government was going to make up for the missing tickets," said the Briton.

"It looks very much like the crowd is going to be much bigger this year, so it means the government's involvement will be considerably less," added Ecclestone.

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