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  Thursday, 15 August, 2002, 14:39 GMT 15:39 UK
Turkey gets F1 boost
Bernie Ecclestone
Ecclestone is visiting Istanbul, Izmir and Antalya
Turkey is almost certain of hosting a Formula One Grand Prix by 2005, according to the sport's boss Bernie Ecclestone.

"The chance of a Turkish Formula One leg is 99.9%," Turkey's Anatolian news agency quoted Ecclestone as saying during a tour of the Turkish Aegean city of Izmir.

"Before making a final decision I will probably come to Turkey again," he said.

"We will make our decision in something like two months."


We're going to see which city would be good for us and good for Turkey
Bernie Ecclestone

Ecclestone's visit was part of a trip to inspect possible sites in Izmir, in Istanbul and in the Mediterranean city of Antalya.

Turkish motorsport officials, led by Mumtaz Tahincioglu, head of the Automobile and Motorsports Federation, are confident of securing a race in 2005.

"We have reached a deal in principle on a range of issues. There are no problems left," Tahincioglu said.

The Turkish government has backed efforts to host a race as it could inject as much as 45m into the country's ailing economy.

"I think it was a great decision for (the ministers) to decide to support Turkey's bid," said Ecclestone.

"We're going to look at these three cities at the beginning and see which one would be good for us and good for Turkey."

Stiff competition

Ecclestone said a single race could attract 30,000 to 40,000 spectators and that a city must demonstrate sufficient infrastructure and accommodation to win the bid.

Istanbul is believed to be the favoured location.

But Turkey faces stiff competition as Moscow is set to host a race in 2004 and China, Bahrain and Egypt are also interested.

A decision is expected to be reached by motorsport's governing body, the FIA, next month.

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Pam Poole
"Turkey has a great chance of hosting a race "
In-depth guide to the 2002 Formula One season

On-track action

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Jonathan Legard

F1 2002
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