Mark Webber sampled the streets of Bangkok in 2010
Thailand could be ready to host a Grand Prix as early as 2014, according to the governor of the country’s Sports Authority.
The Bangkok Post reports that Kanokphand Chulakasem, who met with Bernie Ecclestone in Singapore, says that a deal was agreed in principle.
“It will be a city race like that in Singapore and Monaco,” he said. “It will be a night race like the Singapore Grand Prix.”
However he also conceded that details such as the fee have yet to be determined, which suggests that any announcement is somewhat premature.
Two years ago Mark Webber did a street demonstration on a course laid out on Bangkok’s Ratchadamnoen Avenue, in the vicinity of the proposed track (see video above).
Thailand has a population of around 65m – which would make it the seventh largest current F1 host after China, India, USA, Brazil, Japan and Germany – and would be an interesting market for sponsors.
Inevitably much of the impetus for the event comes from Thai-owned Red Bull and its associated beer brand, Singha. Interest in the country has been increasing, and prospects for a race have been discussed for some time.
With the support of the aforementioned companies the country is already hosting this year’s Race of Champions event in December, with the likes of Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel in attendance.
Thailand’s major claim to racing fame is of course Prince Birabongse Bhanudej Bhanubandh of Siam, better known as B Bira. He competed in Europe with considerable success with ERAs before WW2, and later started 19 World Championship races between 1950 and 1954 in Maserati, Connaught and Gordini chassis.