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Last Updated: Monday, 23 April 2007, 11:11 GMT 12:11 UK
Turkey to keep F1 race until 2021
F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone
Ecclestone says he is "very proud" of the Turkish Grand Prix
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has guaranteed the future of the Turkish Grand Prix for at least the next 15 years.

Ecclestone has taken control of the management rights for the Istanbul Park circuit, which he calls the "best race track in the world".

He insisted he would not make any money and called it his "worst deal" ever.

But he said: "F1 needs to be in this part of the world - I am very proud of what has been built here in Turkey."

Turkey hosted its first Grand Prix in 2005 but last year's race was marred by controversy.

The race organisers were fined 2.66m after allowing the leader of an unrecognised country to present the trophy to winner Felipe Massa.

World motorsport's governing body, the FIA, feared the decision to allow Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat to present the trophy had compromised its political neutrality and there were fears Turkey could lose the race.

Ecclestone has overseen Formula One's expansion into new markets in recent years, with China and Bahrain joining Turkey as new venues.

He said he "believed" in Istanbul and that having a race in Turkey "would bring advantages in the long term".

"It is like going to China," he added. "Everyone thought I was stark raving mad to take F1 to China, but we needed to be there and that is also the case for Turkey."

Meanwhile, Malaysian Grand Prix officials are yet to sign a five-year contract extension despite previous claims the deal was done and dusted.

Malaysian GP boss Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir told the New Straits Times newspaper: "Yes, we have received the contract to host the world championship until 2015, but we have not signed it yet."

SEE ALSO
F1 boss wants to hold night race
03 Apr 07 |  Formula One
Ecclestone planning points change
12 Mar 07 |  Formula One
Turkish GP avoids Formula One axe
19 Sep 06 |  Formula One
Raikkonen seals Turkish triumph
21 Aug 05 |  Formula One


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