Thursday, 20 December 2012

Formula One Travels to Thailand in 2015

As Formula One continues to spread its wings further afield, the possibility of losing classic European races becomes ever more tangible.  With Bernie Ecclestone announcing that Thailand are set to host a night race around the streets of Bangkok in 2015, in addition to the Russian and New Jersey Grand Prix's already scheduled for 2014, it is clear that spaces on the calendar are becoming increasingly sought after and difficult to retain.  Earlier this month Bernie issued European venues with the following warning, "Maybe we'll get the Europeans to wake up instead of thinking that it (a race) is a God-given thing.  When Europeans perform and do their job we are happy to stay."

Mark Webber showcases the Red Bull in a demonstration run around the streets of Bangkok.

The loss of Monaco, Spa or Monza is probably most unlikely due to the historic nature of the tracks.  Silverstone is also steeped in history, but this season the fiasco with swampy fields and turning away of fans could be perceived as not performing well enough.  Changes have been made at the British track in order to ensure these difficulties aren't repeated and, organisers will be hoping these changes are enough to secure its position as a long term Formula One venue.  

Modifications are also planned at the Hungaroring to make the circuit more conducive to overtaking.  Hopefully these are successful as it would be a great loss to the calendar if this Grand Prix were to make way for Thailand.  Its status as the only race in Eastern Europe could hold some weight, but the Polish, Finnish and Russian fans it usually attracts will have other options from 2014.  

Proposed circuit layout for the Russian Grand Prix, built around the Olympic complex.

Considering there will be four German drivers on the grid in 2013, it seems important to retain their home race. Barcelona is one track that wouldn't be missed,  but the Circuit de Catalunya has a contract to host the Spanish Grand Prix until 2016.  

So how is a street race in Thailand to be accommodated?  There are currently six races held in that part of the world: Malaysia, China,  Singapore, Korea, Japan and India, with Bangkok making it seven, a total which seems a little excessive considering it is an area relatively new to Formula One.   The gap for this new race should be opened up by relinquishing one of the Asian races and Seouless Korea seems a good place to start.   

No comments:

Post a Comment