Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu personally approved the use of champagne at the podium during the Turkish Grand Prix on Oct. 10 following last year's decision to spray Formula One drivers with Sprite, a columnist from a pro-government daily has said.
Soylu granted permission for the use of the alcoholic beverage at Intercity Istanbul Park, which was followed by the Istanbul Governor's Office penning an official letter to the organization to convey the decision, Ertuğrul Özkök said on Oct. 12.
The use of Sprite was revealed by Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff last year, who said that the soft drink was sprayed on Formula One drivers on the podium during celebrations after the Turkish Grand Prix rather than champagne.
According to Özkök, Prosecco was popped at the podium, prompting him to ask the reason behind the change this year to Intercity head Vural Ak, the organizer of the Turkish Grand Prix.
Ak said that last year's Sprite incident didn't stem from a ban on alcohol, but a law on promoting alcoholic beverages in sports areas.
He then noted that Soylu personally gave special permission for the use of champagne.
Valtteri Bottas won a wet Turkish Grand Prix for Mercedes on Oct. 10 while Red Bull's Max Verstappen finished second to take back the Formula One world championship lead and move six points clear of Lewis Hamilton.
Mercedes' seven times world champion Hamilton went from 11th on the grid to fifth but was unhappy that a late pitstop denied him a possible podium place. He had been two points ahead of Verstappen going into the race.