We’ve been wanting to go to the Turkish GP for some time now. Over the past couple of years we’ve noticed how exciting a race it always is and an F1 car through turn 8 is a spectacle to behold!
This year we finally prepared ourselves. When our bonus’ from work came in we set aside 1000 quid for the weekend.
The Turkish Grand Prix this year fell on a British Bank holiday so we only really had to book the Friday off work. Then we could get down to blowing the £1000, and we did so as follows :-
- Flights (KLM from Glasgow – Istanbul Ataturk) - £480 (two adults return)
- Hotels – Fri (night) Radisson Airport hotel - £120
Sat –Sun Hotel Star - £120
- F1 tickets Grand Stand bronze 2 x T3 - £150
- Spending money - £130 = about 260 TL
Ok, let me explain a few things about the costs above.
Flights. The circuit is on the Asian side of Turnkey so ideally you want to fly to Gokcen Airport and stay in a hotel near there however we were unable to find reasonably priced hotels on the Asian side of Istanbul even 3 months in advance! So We had to fly to Istanbul Airport on the European side where there are more hotels thus more variety and cheaper!
Hotels :- On the first night we were arriving late 0030 so we didn’t want to be mucking about trying to get to our hotel. So we booked the Radisson Airport hotel which also has a FREE shuttle bus till 130am from the airport to the hotel. Hotel was dear, but worth it! The plan for Saturday morning was to get the bus to back to the Airport where we were told by Istanbul Park (F1 circuit) that there would be a shuttle bus to the circuit. NOT! There is NO shuttle bus to the circuit on a Saturday from the airport ONLY Sunday! They don’t tell you this! Anyway, because we couldn’t find any reasonably priced hotels in the Gokcen Airport area we needed to find some hotels near to where we could get transport to the circuit on the European side of Istanbul. After much investigation we found that there were buses to the circuit from Taksim square, thus we found a hotel called the Hotel Star which was only E60/night and just 2mins walk from the buses to the circuit!! Ideal!! So we stayed here for Sa & Sun night, buses start from early in the morning and leave when full LOADS of buses so chill man!. See my full review here :-
For somewhere good to eat see my review here :-
F1 Tickets :- Looking at the circuit map the best place to sit is Turn 3. Loads of corners and places to overtake, so we thought, however to see all corners well, you need to be seated to the far left of the stand (looking at the track), I’d chosen the opposite (far right) which wasn’t great, thankfully during the race the stand was quiet enough for us to move nearer to the left where we were able to see quite a number of overtakes. The one problem with T3 and Istanbul Park as a whole is the TV and timing boards or rather lack of. There are no timing boards round the circuit AND those privileged enough to have a TV…well it’s barely visible as they’re positioned too far away to see timings. If it wasn’t for my trusty Blackberry phone with F1 app timing, qualifying would’ve been a waste of time attending. Unless you want to see F1 cars just go round and round…
Spending Money :- 130 quid is not much for two people! But it’s enough in Turkey! Even after being stung by the unexpected 60TL!! For a visa at the Turkish Border! RAGIN! Robbed before even touched Turkish soil!! Anyway the rest of the cash got us through the weekend (didn’t include eating out which I paid on credit card). I usually have one or 10 beers while on a weekend away but it’s so hot in Turkey beer is the last thing you want to be drinking! Water, water, water the whole time, otherwise you’re in trouble! I thought of buying 1 beer just to taste Turkish beer, but when I saw that it was £14 for about a pint…I went for the water again!
Just a couple more things about the experience that you should know. If you’re one of those like us that like to walk the circuit, well….no need at Istanbul Park, here there is a circular road running round the circuit and on that circular road there are buses taking people from their Tribunes to all other parts of the circuit, so one can hop on and hop off, take a look round, hop on till they’ve seen all the views they wish. We chose T3 because at T3 one can easily get to the famous T8! So during quali we walked over to T8 about 10mins walk away. Watching an F1 car go round there at speed was an awesome spectacle to behold! Don’t miss it! Mandatory visit! We got to view the whole circuit in each bit but we found that the best place to sit would be Stand 8 the last stand before start finish, this I where you’ll get the BEST view and most action T3 was good though and cheap! If you sit in Stand 8 try get tickets in block 275, they are the best!
Last buses leave at 1900 so we had plenty of time to explore! On the whole we had a Fab weekend in Turkey and I recommend it immensely!