Formula One party time in Istanbul 20 Aug 2005
Istanbuls new track is state of the art. In fact, its hospitality area looks more like a luxury hotel wing than a race circuit.
But that didnt stop organisers moving off track for the Turkish Grand Prixs launch party on Friday evening. The venue was Istanbuls hottest night spot - the Reina - looking over the water from the European to the Asian side of the city.
Fittingly, the evenings programme paid tribute to the unique location - on the cusp of two continents - embracing the very best of both cultures.
Once the official greetings and welcome ceremony were over, the entertainment featured some of the best-known European music, before the sounds slowly shifted to more exotic Asian rhythms, culminating in a fully blown Turkish drum show. Guests could even pick up a few belly dancing tips from the resident entertainers
Among those attending was Mumtaz Tahincioglu, head of the Turkish Motorsports Federation, and Bernie Ecclestone was there to congratulate him on the fantastic contribution Turkey has made to the world of Formula One racing.
Belly shaking at Jordan
The idea of Formula One racing coming to Istanbul without embracing at least some Turkish customs is unthinkable - especially when they involve beautiful women. Hence Jordan took it upon themselves to bring belly dancing to the Grand Prix paddock.
Jordan team owner Alex Shnaider holds a media lunch at every race he attends. In Barcelona he welcomed driver Narain Karthikeyan with a menu of Indian delicacies. In Monaco, guests dined on caviar on his yacht, Midlandia. And here in Turkey, those lucky enough to attend were treated to a visual as well as a culinary treat.
The music may not have been familiar, but the lady, her dress and most of all her dancing delighted those present. In fact, her routine created quite a stir. Television crews were eager to get some footage and even Bernie Ecclestone came along to check out the unusual pre-race entertainment. It seems Turkey is a hit, in more ways than one.