What is believed to have incensed FIA officials is that Talat's involvement was the result of a deliberate hijacking of the ceremony to make a political point to millions of television viewers round the world.
Indeed, the Turkish organisers have admitted that they delayed notifying the FIA about who would hand over the winner's trophy. Murat Yalcintas, head of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, said: "As we had Mr Talat in mind, we delayed giving notification as much as we could."
He said that the chance to use Talat was politically priceless. "The race was a great opportunity — Cyprus is our national cause," he added.
The real price of the gesture, however, could be incalculable. Not only is there a real danger that the Turkish Grand Prix, which was announced as part of next year's calendar only yesterday, will be cancelled, the country may also lose its round of the World Rally Championship. The grand prix provided a superb marketing opportunity for Turkey and for Istanbul's tourism industry. Istanbul Park was only finished last year at a cost of around £85 million."
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