Thai Grand Prix mooted; New Jersey race in doubt
Thailand may be the next country to play host to Formula One, according to the governor of the country's sports authority.
Kanokphand Chulakasem reportedly met Formula One Group chief executive Bernie Ecclestone at last weekend's Singapore Grand Prix to discuss a race on the streets of Bangkok.
The Bangkok Post quoted Kanokphand as saying: "It will be a city race like that in Singapore and Monaco. It will be a night race like the Singapore Grand Prix."
The newspaper also reported that the race could be 60 per cent funded by the Thai government, with the remainder coming from private companies such as Red Bull and its beer sponsor Singha. Red Bull co-owner Chalerm Yoovidhya hails from Thailand and reportedly joined Kanokphand and Ecclestone for discussions in Singapore, where a similar model funds its annual night race.
A race in Thailand would open up another populous market to Formula One, although Kanokphand added that commercial elements of any deal are yet to be finalised indicating that an announcement may be some time away.
Ecclestone, who has already signed an agreement to host a Russian Grand Prix on the winter Olympic Park in Sochi from 2014, has taken Formula One to a host of new markets in recent years. Bahrain and China joined the calendar in 2004, Korea was added in 2010 and the first Indian Grand Prix took place last October. At the weekend the Singaporean government confirmed a new deal to host a night race until at least 2017.
November will see the return of the United States to the Formula One schedule after a five year absence at the newly-constructed Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
A proposed 20-date 2013 Formula One calendar containing just seven European events was released to teams in Singapore last weekend, with a provisional June date for a second race in the United States.
However with the calendar set to be ratified by the FIA World Council on Friday, fresh doubts have been raised about the financing behind the proposed Grand Prix of America on a street circuit in New Jersey.
Ecclestone told The Guardian newspaper earlier this week that there is no contract in place for the race despite the announcement of a ten-year agreement last year and building work already underway.
As well as a potential race in Thailand, Ecclestone is also understood to harbour a desire for the return of the Mexican Grand Prix to the world championship.blog comments powered by Disqus
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