BANGKOK – The Sports Authority of Thailand confirmed, late last week, Thailand will host its first Formula 1 Grand Prix in 2015, but F1 organizers have not issued any supporting statements.
SAT governor, Kanokphand Chulakasem, said the project was in the drafting stage that would result in a comprehensive master plan that would be used to convince the Cabinet to set aside a project budget.
“There are many details that need to be considered so the master plan draft could take two months before it is ready to present to the Cabinet.”
He said the Formula I contract was in his hands, but it still needed the final green light from the Minister of Tourism and Sports as well as Cabinet approval. A new minister of tourism has still to be named by the Cabinet.
As for the race track venue, the governor said there are three potential sites in Bangkok. They are: The Government Complex in Honour of His Majesty the King on Chaengwattana Road, Muang Thong Thani, and Rajdamnoen Avenue near Sanam Luang.
“Personally, Ratchadamnoen Avenue would be my choice as it would make a suitable city race circuit with a beautiful landscape that reflects a Thai atmosphere especially during a night race.”
Part of the race circuit would have the city’s historical temples illuminated at night as a backdrop.
Late last year, government sources said Formula 1 had decided to include Thailand in its 2014 season calendar with a race slated for November. However, there has been no independent confirmation from the F1 brand owners or anyone connected with the race series to support Thai government statements.
He also cited that the government was ready to fund 60% of the cost, with the rest coming from sponsors such as Red Bull and Singha Beer group.
Red Bull’s involvement is feasible as it is already a F1 car sponsor and has made no secret of the fact that it has been pushing to bring the race to Thailand.
The company sponsored a single F1 car demonstration on Bangkok’s Rajdamnoen Avenue when Red Bull team driver, Mark Alan Webber, drove around a city circuit, 18 December 2010, as part of the celebrations for HM the King’s birthday.