Mystery solved — it has emerged from the venue of the Turkish grand prix that F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is attending the MotoGP race in Istanbul this weekend because he has bought the circuit.
We previously reported that the 76-year-old turned up on Friday at the ‘Otodrom’, also known as Istanbul Park, perhaps to convince Valentino Rossi to reconsider his postponed switch to F1.
But we can now confirm that London based Ecclestone, who also owns the Paul Ricard test circuit in France, has at least partially acquired the Turkish GP venue for an unspecified multi million dollar figure.
It is understood that his buying price is a mere fraction of the actual cost of building the impressive Hermann Tilke-penned venue.
The circuit is contracted to host formula one racing well into the future, but it is believed that Bernie is in Turkey this weekend to assess whether to pen a deal to stay on the MotoGP calendar in 2008 and beyond.
The diminutive Briton said on Friday: “I’m a big, big motorcycle supporter and I think motorcycle racing is super.”
The news that Ecclestone now owns or part-owns the circuit is likely to raise eyebrows for several reasons; not least of which the FIA’s recent decision to absolve the outstanding $2.5m balance of a fine imposed on Turkish GP organisers after the podium debacle last year.