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Thailand to join bidding for F1 race slot

5 September 2011

F1 shows no sign of falling out of favour with prospective new venues, with Thailand now expected to ramp up its interest in joining the schedule in future.

Spurred on by Singapore's success and Malaysia's longevity as F1 venues, the Asian nation has said that it will bid for a slot on the calendar as a means of boosting awareness among tourists and industry leaders. No target date has been set, but the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau said that it would respond to calls to bring in major sporting or cultural events to enhance the country's reputation among foreigners, particularly following recent political troubles. Singapore drew a 120,000 crowd to its 2010 event, and helped attract a million foreign tourists in the periods immediately before, during and after the race.

F1 has not ignored Thailand completely, with both static and 'on track' demonstrations taking place in recent months. Lotus Renault showed off an R31 at a promotional event co-hosted by several of its sponsors, while a one-day Red Bull event introduced 150,000 interested spectators to the sights and sounds of grand prix racing.

"Building an F1 circuit is very costly but it would be useful after the races end," TCEB president Akapol Sorasuchart told journalists, "I think that street racing is interesting for Thailand because it involves lower investment. A good location would be Ratchadamnoen Avenue because it has a good atmosphere."

While Singapore is the first of the end-of-season 'flyaway' events, which starts after this weekend's Italian Grand Prix, Singapore would be bidding join the likes of China, India, Japan, South Korea and Abu Dhabi among the Asian components of the calendar. The USA follows 2011 addition India in rejoining the schedule in 2012, while Russia has a contract to join the fray in 2014.


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