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Thai Grand Prix attracts opposition

29 May 2013

As is often the case with a new addition to the F1 schedule, the proposal to run a grand prix on the streets of Bangkok has met with opposition from environmental groups.

The race took a step closer to reality last month, with local newspapers reporting that the Sports Authority of Thailand has signed off on a 3.725-mile circuit that would take the cars right through the heart of the capital city.

The start/finish straight would be at the Royal Thai Naval Dockyard on the Chao Phraya river near the Rama VIII Bridge, and the street circuit would enclose Bangkok's famous Khao San Road, well known to backpackers the world over. From there, it heads south towards one of the city's chief tourist attractions, the Grand Palace, and then heads up Ratchadamnoen Avenue, before taking in the Democracy Monument and other sights including the red Giant Swing of Wat Suthat, Wat Arun and the Navy Club, before following Phra Sumen back to the start/finish line.

While sports authority representatives claimed that 'only a small group of residents would be affected by the proposed route', the layout's proximity to some of the country's most historic landmarks has sparked concern amongst environmental groups.

"F1 cars might overshoot a curve and crash into some structures along the route," Srisuwan Janya, president of Stop Global Warming Association Thailand told the Bangkok Post, before claiming that the vibration caused by 22 speeding racecars would also cause damage to the likes of the Grand Palace.

Suggesting that holding the grand prix would likely infringe several laws regarding both the environment and historic sites, Srisuwan also doubted the motives for staging the race.

"The purpose of organising this event is to promote car manufacturers, not tourism as claimed," he insisted, claiming that THAISGWA would ask the national Administrative Court to consider suspending the project with immediately effect.

The inaugural Thai Grand Prix is tentatively scheduled for 2015.


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