Thailand receives Bernie’s support to host Formula 1 race

(Bangkokpost) Thailand bid to host a race and freshly received the support of F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, according to Red Bull GmbH boss Dietrich Mateschitz.

“The idea is good. We are in talks. Thailand could host a Formula One race in the next two or three years,” Msteschitz told bangkokpost yesterday.”Ecclestone agrees with the idea. We may sign an agreement soon.”

Asked how long it would take for Thailand to get approval, Matesschitz said: “I don’t know. That is as far as I know. I can’t give you details because it is not my responsibility. All I can tell you is that a race could take place here in the next two or three years.”

He believed that a Grand Prix here would be a success judging from the huge crowds who watched Thailand’s first-ever Formula One show along Ratchadamnoen Avenue two years ago.

The exhibition was organised by Thailand’s Red Bull Beverage Co and featured Red Bull driver Mark Webber.

The show was presided over by Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn who represented His Majesty the King and who granted an audience to Webber.

“I remember that a lot of people watched the show and a race here will be successful,” said Matesschitz who is in town to attend the funeral of Chaleo Yoovidhya, his friend and co-owner of Austria-based Red Bull GmbH which owns the Red Bull Racing team.

“People could see champions compete here.”

Earlier this month, Tourism and Sports Minister Chumpol Silpa-archa held a constructive meeting with concerned parties to discuss Thailand’s bid to organise a Formula One race.

Participants included Sports Authority of Thailand governor Kanokphand Chulakasem, Red Bull Beverage chief Chalerm Yoovidhya and a Formula One representative.

The participants agreed that the race should be held on Ratchadamnoen Avenue instead of building a circuit in Pattaya which would be too costly.

Chalerm said after the meeting that hosting a Formula One race would prove that Thailand was capable of organising a major international sporting event and all concerned parties wanted to make this happen in honour of His Majesty the King.

If the government is successful in bringing Formula One to Thailand, the competition would be the third road race on the international circuit along with the Monaco Grand Prix and the Singapore Grand Prix.

The idea of turning Ratchadamnoen Avenue into a race track was initiated by Prince Birabongse Bhanudej Bhanuban _ better known as Prince Bira _ the country’s first and only Grand Prix winner.

He planned to close roads in the Sanam Luang and Ratchadamnoen areas in 1939 for a “Bangkok Grand Prix” but his dream was ultimately broken when World War II was declared.

Article Source: Bangkokpost.com

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