Turkish GP to have cars unbranded

Mumtaz Tahincioglu, the head of Turkey's Motorsports Federation, says that the Turkish GP will not have tobacco advertising. Turkey is committed to eradicate tobacco advertising and the government will not bend to pressure from Formula 1.

"If someone paints his car with the colours of a cigarette company without the brand name on it, we cannot do anything about it," Tahincioglu told the Reuters newsagency.

The Formula 1 teams are expected to accept the restriction because the Turks are willing to pay more money to host the race than are the traditional old circuits in Europe. Tahincioglu also says that the first Turkish GP will take place in August 2005, if everything goes to plan. The date is interesting as it suggests that there will need to be a serious shake-up in the calendar. The current European legislation means that all races in Europe after the end of July 2005 will have to be run without tobacco advertising and so it is expected that favoured races in Europe will be given dates in the first half of the season with others being pushed back after the August 1 deadline. This may create contractual problems for some of the events which have clauses that allows the Formula One Group to cancel the events if tobacco advertising is not allowed.

The new circuit in Turkey, which is on the Asian side of Istanbul will be ready by the end of this season and the promoters hope that it will bring in large numbers of tourists, despite the fact that there has a lot of terrorist activity in Istanbul, including an attack last November which killed the British Consul and 26 others when two suicide trucks bombs went off outside the British consulate and the headquarters of the HSBC bank. These attacks came just a few days after two other bombings in the city which killed another 23 people. A month ago there was another attack at a Masonic lodge, which resulted in two more deaths, although one of these was one of the attackers. More recently a small bomb went off near a police station in the city.

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