2010 FORMULA 1 TURKISH GRAND PRIX
- 11 million
- New Turkish Lira
- First Grand Prix
- GMT +2
- Muslim 97%, Christian & other 3%
- Visa / Passport Requirements
East meets west, ancient meets modern, water meets land: Istanbul is undoubtedly one of the most unique cities on the Formula One calendar. The domes and minarets of the old town ooze history, taking the discerning traveller back to the days of the Ottoman Empire and Constantinople. Modern Istanbul, meanwhile, is a diverse and 'good-time' city. On the European side of the Bosphorus Strait there are bars, clubs and all the western shops you’d expect to see in London or New York. On the Asian side there are markets and more indigenous enterprises and it is here that the Istanbul Park circuit is located.
The track alone is enough reason to go to the race because, although new to the calendar in 2005, it is already lauded as one of the truly great circuits on the Formula One calendar. Bernie Ecclestone describes it as, “the best track in the world” and he’s not alone in his enthusiasm for the place.
“I’ve been to Istanbul a lot,” says 1982 world champion Keke Rosberg. “It’s a wonderful city, with so much to offer. I love the way old meets new on both sides of the Bosphorus and I hope that the city never loses that as it develops.
“Three things to do in 24 hours: have dinner in the old town, in one of the restaurants that lie alongside the Bosphorus; then visit one of the street markets; then go to Istanbul Park - a great track, a great challenge for drivers.”
Did you know? Turkey has been a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO - a military alliance of 26 democratic countries in Europe and North America) since 1952. It is also on course to join the European Union.
The Ataturk International Airport is a 30-minute drive from downtown Istanbul and an hour from Istanbul Park. Get into the city by hire car, airport bus or taxi. Sabiha Gokcen International Airport is smaller and located further outside Istanbul, but is just four kilometres from Istanbul Park. Taxis and public transport can take you from Sabiha Gokcen to various destinations in and around Istanbul. On race days, special buses run from nearby Pendik to Istanbul Park.
Allow plenty of time for getting to the circuit. There are very few hotels on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, so over the Grand Prix weekend nearly all the race traffic heads south towards Istanbul Park at the same time. Further improvements to road links from the motorway to the circuit will, however, cut journey times from 2006. Special public buses to Istanbul Park run from Taksim and Levent on the European side of the city and Kadýkoy on the Asian side.
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The undulating nature of Istanbul Park means just a general admission ticket will give you a choice of several spectacular vantage points. However, as you’d expect of a new circuit, grandstand seats are plentiful, with prices split into bronze, silver and gold price brackets, according to the position and view.
Tipping is as old as Turkey itself and it’s customary to give some change for most services. For taxis, rounding up the fare is the norm.
You can keep up to speed with all the action throughout the weekend by hiring a Kangaroo TV handset at the circuit, which offers access to several channels of live video, audio and data content.
Where to go?
The main tourist attractions are in the old town, and to name a few of the must-see sights: the Grand Bazaar (a shopper’s paradise since the 15th century), the Suleymaniye Mosque and the Cagaloglu Hamam (the oldest Turkish baths in Istanbul), which are in the Sultanahmet district of the city.
As for eating, you must try an authentic kebab - perhaps the oldest fast food of all and available on nearly every street corner. For an exciting nightlife, head to the Beyoglu district or Taksim Square. Between them there is every kind of club you could wish for, including several belly dancing stages and jazz bars.
Where to stay?
The city accommodates visitors of all budgets equally well. Most of the well-known hotel chains are situated in a cluster on the European side of the Bosphorus. There are two main areas to stay: the Sultan Ahmet Camii and the Blue Mosque. Rosberg, however, prefers to stay in the Hilton. “It’s a good hotel and has a fantastic view over the river.”
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“Istanbul is a great city,” says Rosberg, “though I think I’d head for the Mediterranean coast if I was to stay for a few days’ holiday after the race. It’s a very spectacular coastline and the weather’s good."
The Aegean coast is also nearby. It may not be quite as stunning as that of the Mediterranean, but it was once Asia Minor and is littered with sights of historic interest, including the famous ruins of Troy.
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34959 Tuzla - Istanbul
|Fri 28 May 2010|
|Practice 1||10:00 - 11:30|
|Practice 2||14:00 - 15:30|
|Sat 29 May 2010|
|Practice 3||11:00 - 12:00|
|Sun 30 May 2010|