Turkey F1 celebrations fall flat without champagne

Celebrations at the end of Turkey’s Formula 1 race didn’t have their usual fizz after "sprite-like" beverage was used in place of champagne on the winners’ podium.

Turkish social media users complained that not using champagne, which is traditional to celebrate winning F1 races, made Turkey look more socially conservative than it is in practice.

Mercedes owner Toto Wolff said in an interview that “We (Hamilton and himself) are flying home together and there’s gonna be something other than sprite which we just saw on the podium!”

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has been on a moral crusade to stop its citizens drinking and smoking for many years, increasing the taxes on alcohol and blurring out cigarettes and alcoholic drinks in many television programmes. 

Some social media users joked that Turkey could make its own domestic brand of champagne by putting the label for Niğde Gazozu soda on a champagne bottle.

Some Twitter users suggested that as well as Niğde soda, they could give out Çorum chickpeas to promote the two small cities of Nigde and Çorum in central Anatolia which are considered somewhat bland and boring. 

“They popped something like Sprite in F1, hahhah you should have served them chickpeas, it would go very well!”

“Niğde soda with Çorum roasted chickpeas.”

The race’s winner, Lewis Hamilton, who won his seventh Formula 1 title, had already criticised the quality of the new track for the Turkish Grand Prix ahead of the race, saying that it had very little grip.