Istanbul Park – spectators’ experiences

Tell us about your experiences of visiting Istanbul Park in Turkey.

You may wish to include:

  • When you visited the track
  • Where you watched from
  • How easy it was to get to
  • How much of the track you could see
  • What support races there were
  • What you liked and didn’t like
  • How much it cost and whether it was good value

Please use the reply box below to leave your comments.

Are you going to the 2011 Turkish Grand Prix? Chat with other F1 fans who are going to the race here: 2011 Turkish Grand Prix discussion

83 comments on “Istanbul Park – spectators’ experiences”

Jump to comment page: 1 2 3
  1. – 2006
    – Silver 3, stand 7
    – It was very easy, with buses from Sulthanamet. But the bus trip was too long. 2 1/2 hours — I spent a total of 15 hours on the bus over the weekend, so next time I would skip friday
    – Very good view of turns 12, 13, 14 — a very good overtaking spot with lots of action. TIP! The best view of Turn 8 is general admission tickets. You get a lot closer than on the silver 2 grandstand.
    – GP2, SEAT Cup and Womans Lupo er something.
    – Liked the track and the trackside stalls was very good. There was buses going around the track. Didn’t like that the other grandstands were closed on friday, and that it’s in the middle of nowhere. The atmosphere could also have been better — can’t compare with the 2 other races I’ve been two in that regards (Spain and Hungary 2007)
    – around €240 for the tickets, very good prices on the plane ticket and Hotel — around €260 total for a week. So very good value.

    1. Sigmund, what was Silver Stand 7 like for view?? what other corners/straights/action could you see from this stand?


  2. I went to Istanbul Park for the second Grand Prix there in 2006.

    As is often said simply getting to the circuit is extraordinarily difficult. We caught a bus from Istanbul which took about an hour and a half and on the return journey the driver got lost.

    At that time the race was held in early September and the heat was fierce. Unless you’ve got a grandstand seat there’s no shelter and spectator facilities around the far side of the circuit are damn near non-existent. This is a pain if you’re making a trek out to the mighty turn eight, which is easily the best thing about the Istanbul track.

  3. – 2009.
    – Bronze 5.
    – Not easy. And I’m a Turkish. Even it took one and half an hour from the continent of Asia. The track is really middle of nowhere.
    – Most of it because of the bus trips.
    – That year, there was GP2, Turkish Touring car and Porsche Cup.
    – Just seeing and living the atmosphere worths everything. But the security wires in front of us were really annoying. On the other hand, we’re at the nearest tribun to the track.
    – It cost me about 100 $. And it’s a reasonable value.

    1. Erika-from-Hungary
      9th December 2009, 6:27

      Dear Shagrathian,
      i would like to visit the Turkish GP in 2010, and a have some questions:
      -there is a public-pitlane-walk on Thursday?
      -what do you mean about Bronz 2? (is it far from the track?)
      how much does it cost apprx the bus-ticket to the circuit?
      really takes 1,5 hours the trip? better way to rent a car?

      many thanks in advance for your help

  4. It was the first time i went to a f1 race since canada 1996. Watched indy cars.
    I got a very good deal on plane 90 euro, from spain, race ticket 40 euro, for general admision. You could walk almost the hole circuit.
    But i got the feeling that the cars were underpowered, and you just got the feeling of no speed. May be because the track is so wide open.
    But i saw the martini legends in jarama, with a ferrari 2007, on slik tyres, and the sesation of speed was much higher. A feeling i didn’t get in stambul.

  5. Mark from Canada
    6th February 2010, 21:55

    I traveled from Canada to Turkey for the Grand Prix last year (2009). There was no Thursday pitlane walk, which was disappointing. We took the bus each day from Taksim Square to the circuit. Get their early, and take the 1st bus (7am I think). The bus is really cheap, but the ride is ~90mins in light traffic.

    The circuit itself really is in the middle of nowhere. There’s no nightlife, and when we returned to Istanbul, you’d be hard pressed to find any evidence of an F1 race taking place. We stayed at the Hilton, and the hotel prices were not your typical gouging/inflated rates I’ve paid at other races.

    Walking the track is a must do. This is a great circuit, and the elevation changes are much bigger than you see on the TV. And the cars taking Turn 8 was very impressive. You get a great sense of the speed and different lines drivers take.

    Our seats were in Grandstand 8, which is at the final turn complex. I think it’s a great spot because you see the cars coming down to the hairpin at T12 from full speed, then through T13/14 and onto the main straight. You also see the pit entrance, and can see down the pitlane.

    The lack of crowds meant few lineups for beer and toilets. The bus ride back to Istanbul after the race was very long. Huge traffic jams.

    I don’t regret going. I’d never been to Turkey before, and I do like the circuit. It was unfortunate that Canada with it’s consistent sell-out crowds and massive F1 atmosphere lost it’s race in ’09 while Turkey was tarping over grandstands so the TV camera’s wouldn’t notice that only 20k people showed up.

    But, that’s history. Canada is back!!

    1. simon henry
      7th March 2010, 20:14

      Hi Mark
      I wonder if you could tell me if there were fences obstructing the view from grandstand 8. And if you have any photos taken from there. its so hard to find a good ticket shop with photos taken from the stand.
      Many thanks

    2. Mark
      I appreciate your notes about the Turkish GP.
      I am travelling to the race this year (from Ontario). It looks like a real pain to get to the track. I havent arranged transportation yet (or bought my ticket yet). I was hoping I could pick up the ticket at the track. Do you know if the rows are numbered from the top or bottom? I hve been too lots of races and its not always the same…
      also how difficult was it to catch a bus after the race? is it just public transportation and you just get on the next one available?

  6. I’ve booked to goto the Turkish GP this year and will report back my experience in June.

    All I can say for now is that I’ve booked tickets for Grandstand 2 and I’ve booked a hotel just outside the airport, so travelling by car to the circuit should only take about 30mins.

    1. Darren from UK
      10th March 2010, 11:37

      I have also booked tickets for F1 in Turkey.

      I am too staying in a hotel just outside Ataturk Airport. Getting to the circuit from the city seemed a bit longwinded.

      According to the circuit’s site,
      special buses are being run from this airport.

      Has anyone gone from the airport by bus, or would it be better to hire a car?

  7. And what about silver 1?
    I booked there. Any recommends?
    I’ll be there with my son (9 years).

    1. hi i am a turkish and i was there in 2007,2008,2009 and i can say if u cant go gold or platinum (mainstand) u should go silver 1. Because u can see first corner and exit of pit and maybe inside of pit . i think u can see pit lane and pit stops. Also, after racing u can enter track for watch ceremony. Door near of silver 1 so u can enter easily. and it is near of foods and close to f1 team stands. And i think 1 corner is important. Because much passings are in this corner maybe crashes. And u can see exit of pit stop which is important in istanbul park. So i can adivece u there.

      1. elias kosseifi
        15th April 2011, 16:11

        hi ALICAN HOW to contact you please write me
        i took the silver 1 tickets thanks

    2. elias kosseifi
      15th April 2011, 16:05

      hi george we took the silver 1 too if u knw something any advice plz write me thanks

  8. There are two airports serving Istanbul.

    Ataturk is the main international airport and is the opposite side of the city to the circuit – a journey of about 50 miles which will also involve getting across the Bosphorus on one of the bridges. Google maps puts this as a 1.5 – 2 hour journey. Given Istanbul’s traffic I think this is a bit optimistic.

    Sabhia Gokcen is the other airport and was originally a domestic airport but is also used by low cost carriers and others. It is much closer to the circuit (about 7 miles) and avoids the Istanbul traffic, but is a bit out of the way of the sights of Istanbul and the main hotels / nightspots.

    I’ve decided to split the difference and booked a hotel on the Asian side of Istanbul about 20 miles from the circuit. This means getting into proper Istanbul for a days sightseeing is pretty cheap and easy, but the bridges across the Bosphorus are avoided.

    Booked seats in Grandstand 8 (silver). I’d recommend booking your tickets directly with the circuit website. They have good panoramic pictures from each grandstand, and you get to choose which block of the stand you want to be in. We have gone high up (to avoid the fences) at the end closest to T12 which is a potential overtaking spot.

    If you use Google Earth, someone has made a 3D model of the main stands and pitlane buildings. If you turn these on, plus the “terrain overlay” (to factor in gradient) you can go and “virtually sit in your seat” then pan around to get a good idea of the view you will have.

  9. I’m going to the race in Istanbul this year and have been trawling the web trying to find the best way to get there (i.e. one that may avoid a 3 hour round-trip) and whether it’s worth sucking it up and just paying massively over the odds to stay somewhere near the circuit. I’m desperately trying to avoid the latter and found the quote below on the Trip Advisor forum, could anyone who’s actually been to Istanbul comment on the options?

    “If you stay in Sultanahmet, take the tram, get off at Eminonu, get on the ferry at Eminonu and go to Kadikoy on the Asian side. At Kadikoy get on the municipal bus E-10 (Kadikoy-Kurtkoy-Sabiha Gokcen) and go to Sabiha Gokcen Airport. There at the airport take a taxi to go to Istanbul Park (15 minute taxi ride) where the Grand Prix is taking place. A little roundabout but it will work. Plus you will see a lot of places.You have to leave early though.You can return the same way. Only taxi will cost around 20 TL, the rest very inexpensive.

    There is an alternative also. Go to Taksim (tram/funicular) and take the HAVAS bus from Taksim direct to Sabiha Gokcen Airport. The rest the same.”

    If anyone else is going and is interested in sharing a cab, etc, let me know!

    1. @pointer, me and a friend are going to the race and I have been trying to find a reasonable priced solution to get to the track from Beyoglu district (near sultanahmet). I got a quote for a airconditioned van for 280 EUR per day! Pretty expensive but if you can get as many as 7 ppl into the van the cost surely is much more reasonably priced. So are there more people interested in this solution? Maybe we could team up?

      I also got the info that the normal “shuttle fee” from Taksim to the track is 20 EUR pp one way.

  10. If we manage to gather 10 people we could hire one of these
    and combine it with a short taxi trip from the shore….

    1. Hello,
      I’m coming to Istanbul from England to watch the race with my Girl Friend. We will be staying in the city and centre. I’ll be interested in sharing any sort of private transport to avoid having to go on the public bus and deal with traffic jams.

      Let me know.

  11. George sakko
    29th April 2010, 21:12

    I booked a platinum ticket for the istanbul gp! i would like to know if there will be a thursday pitlane walk! any ideas???? any1 to share a taxi!!! ????

  12. George sakko
    29th April 2010, 21:12

    George sakkos* my name

  13. Hi,

    Does anybody know how much the bus will cost from Taksim Square to Istanbul Park? Also does anyone know where I can find a bus timetable for this service? I have been searching the net for ages but find that the information available is very limited. My husband and I dont drive, we are staying in Sultanhamet and we need to pick our tickets up from the ticket office behind the main grandstand either on the Thursday or the Friday but obvioulsy dont want to spend our entire weekend on busses. Also any ideas on how much a cab would cost?
    Any help / advice will be appreciated!

    1. Hi Weeme

      I’m in the same situation. Also going to stay near Sultanahmet and need to go to the race. If you find any information will you please let me know. Or anybody els. I will share the costs.

  14. Hi,
    Does anybody know if there will be buses going from Kadikoy to Istanbul Park? Is it possible to find a timetable?

  15. There are meant to be buses going from Kadikoy. I have e-mailed the circuit to ask for times and exact departure point, but they are not published until about a week before the race.

    1. Unomaha1980
      16th May 2010, 18:24

      In this link you can find last year’s shuttle schedule
      That might give you an idea.
      “Kalkış” means “Departure”
      “Varış” means “Arrival”
      The first table is for Friday and Saturday. The third table is for Sunday.
      Let me know if you have any questions.

      1. Hi Unomaha1980
        Can you confirm where in Sultanahmet the bus stop is please. I will be staying 1 minute fro Sirkeci Station, so just need to know if Sultanahmet is closer or if Taksim Square is easier. many thanks

        1. Buses for race leave in front of tourist information center which is halfway between Blue Mosque and Aja Sofija. To arrive to Taksim from your location you would need to switch from tram to funnicular at least once so I think Sultanahmet buses are closer for you.

  16. I have got a couple of quotations for taxi and shuttle to the track.

    A taxi for transportation both saturday and sunday from and to Beyoglu (near sultanahmet) to Istanbul park is 290 EUR total cost, dunno how many seats in the car yet.

    Shuttle service is 30 EUR per day per person (roundtrip).

    1. Unomaha1980
      16th May 2010, 18:37

      I recommend you to rent a car. You can rent a decent car for 70 Euros per day. Istanbul is a big city but it is not hard to find direction, roads are wide. As soon as you pass Bosphorus you just need to follow the “Istanbul Park – Formula 1” signs by the road. From Beyoğlu it will take approimately two hours to get to the track.

  17. Travelling from Canada to the race and staying at Sheraton “near” the airport. It sounds like getting to the track will be very challenging. Anyone else happen to be staying at Sheraton hotel that wants to plan transportation?

    1. Hi Dave
      I am also staying at the sheraton in bakirkoy, have you found the best way and cheapest way to get over to the track?

  18. Hi there,

    Me and my husband will visit Istanbul for the Grand Prix 2010 but we still have no tickets. Someone knows if i can buy tickets from there?? before the race i mean, general admission or better bronze…or all the tickets are sold??

    Thx for your reply…

    1. Unomaha1980
      16th May 2010, 18:07

      You can get your tickets from the kiosk named as “Biletix” at the entrance of the track on the right hand side. Do not worry there will be plenty of seats left in all tribunes since ticket sales is low in Turkey. I will buy my ticket on the race day also.
      In this website
      there are pictures of the views from each tribun.
      Hope this will be helpful. I am Turkish by the way, any questions are welcome.

      1. Is it Cheaper to buy the tickets at the kiosk than before you arrive

      2. elias kosseifi
        15th April 2011, 16:21

        hi i need to talk to you i have many questions please qrite me to tell me how to contact you thanks

        1. If you’re going to ask questions about visiting the race you might as well post them here so other people can see the answers. That’s what this area is for.

  19. Hi,
    Does anybody know how to pick up the tickets if you book them directly with the circuit website? We are trying to get some tickets now (at 2 weeks for de GP) but we are traveling to Turkey in a week. They say they send the tickets but when…
    Some help, please. Thanks for all your comments, they are very useful.

    1. Unomaha1980
      16th May 2010, 18:15

      I recommend you to contact with the customer service by filling out the form on the link below.
      You can also call the ticket company’s call canter. The phone number is +90 216 556 98 00.
      9 is the country code

      1. Thanks a lot for your help!
        Have you ever been there before? If you have, which stand do you recomment? Actually im interesting in bronze seats or even for general admission. Im thinking of bronze seats tribune 5. What do you think??

        Oh.. i’ll stay at Ibis hotel.. (I’ll visit Turkey with a group), do you know how far is circuit park from there? we’ll be there by bus.

        Thanks a lot for your time…

        1. unomaha1980
          20th May 2010, 9:37

          Hello Elena,
          I bought my ticket from Silver Tribun 1 (first corner) in the last 4 years. This year I will get my ticket from the main granstand from the closer part to the first corner. I recommend Silver Tribun 1 or among bronze choices, Bronze Tribun 2 has a nice view. Anyhow, this year there are only 4 tribun choices excluding main grandstand.

          Ibis Hotel is in Zeytinburnu I guess. It is far away from the track. By bus it takes 2 hours approximately (if you take the direct bus to the track, ask your hotel about the shuttles). You can catch one from Sultanahmet.

          Enjoy your trip.

  20. Hello all,
    I am from Bosnia and Herzegovina and I have been in Istanbul park 2009 and I am coming back this year :). I drove with my car and we have been staying at Fenerbahce (Asian side)
    The experience was awesome. Since me and my crew are huge F1 fans, we have been at circuit on all 3 days (missed thursday due to our trip). I must say that only time I have experienced “long drive” was on the way back on race day. Friday and Saturday it took only 25 minutes to drive there. Ofcourse, I was there in the morning and got back after all programme was finished.
    We’ve been on “open area” and was perfect (apart from the fact that we didn’t have TV screens on which we could keep up with the race).
    We’ve been on different places during practice, qualifying and race and all parts have their advantages but we decided to watch the race from longest straight (between 8 and 9 curve).
    Probably will do the same this year :)..
    c u there

Jump to comment page: 1 2 3

Comments are closed.