Mark Webber, Red Bull, Bangkok, 2010

Thailand planning to hold F1 night race in 2014

2014 F1 seasonPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Bangkok, 2010Thailand is poised to become the next country to join the F1 calendar in 2014.

The governor of the Sports Authority of Thailand Kanokphand Chulakasem told the Bangkok Post a deal had been agreed in principle with Bernie Ecclestone.

“It will be a city race like that in Singapore and Monaco. It will be a night race like the Singapore Grand Prix,” said Kanokphand.

Mark Webber performed an F1 demo run on Ratchadamnoen Avenue in Bangkok in December 2010 which was watched by over 100,000 people.

The only Thai driver to have competed in the world championship was Prince Birabongse Bhanudej Bhanubandh (usually referred to as B Bira) who drove for Maserati, among others, in the 1950s.

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

84 comments on “Thailand planning to hold F1 night race in 2014”

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  1. To the Google Maps Pedometer!

    1. No need. They can just have an oval race around the ring road of Bangkok.

    2. Unfortuantely, there’s not a whole lot I can do with Bangkok.

      Which is surprising, given how big it is. These are the only two I could come up with that look remotely interesting:

      Neither seems particularly feasible.

      1. This is where my idea of the giant-oval race around the ring road comes into play.

        1. How about this:

          That thing will give Suzuka a run for its money.

      2. Maybe around Lumpini park?

        The trouble with Bangkok as a street circuit venue is its flatness, building density, narrow roads and lack of landmarks next to roads. I love visiting for the food and the vibe but it’s not a beautiful city – it’s a dirty, smoky, humid sprawl with some isolated wonders – mainly temples.

        I can’t see that it would add anything to the calendar. It would certainly make the traffic even worse.

        1. Maybe around Lumpini park?

          I tried, but there was nothing interesting there. It’s all straight roads and ninety-degree bends.

        2. I agree, I think it’s a stupid idea.

      3. @prisoner-monkeys
        The top design actually looks very good, but I’m not sure how well the cars would take to such a sudden sharp change of direction at the start. Also the double-back on the roundabout is probably a safety concern, not sure how well they can get a crane to that part if needed

        1. @keeleyobsessed

          I’m not sure how well the cars would take to such a sudden sharp change of direction at the start

          They’d probably do just fine. There’s a few flower beds in the middle of median strips that could be removed.

          Also the double-back on the roundabout is probably a safety concern, not sure how well they can get a crane to that part if needed

          With ease – they would just have to be stationed on side roads and on the eastern side of the roundabout.


        What do you think? It just seems ridiculously tight at most areas.

        1. @philereid – Yeah, it’s a little too tight. You’ve also got places where the circuit would have cars coming at each other head-on with no room for run-off areas.

      5. A few of the ideas I rejected:

        The problem with a race in Bangkok is that while the city streets are clearly laid out in a planned pattern, there’s no actual planning as to what goes where. It’s very difficult to find roads that are wide enough for a race, but which don’t go through an urban area. And given that there are a lot of run-down and poorer areas, having a Formula 1 race through these parts of town would be in poor taste, not to mention difficult to get the locals to accept the idea of the race taking place. I remember the World Rally Championship went to China in 1999, and Colin McRae complained that no-one had told the locals that a race was on, so they went about their business oblivious to speeding rally cars until said speeding rally cars arrived. I can see similar problems here, though probably not as dramatic.

        This, naturally raises a lot of the same questions that were asked last year when Formula 1 visited India: can a sport as expensive and as extravagant as Formula 1 really travel to nations that are still developing? The answer in India was yes; the Indians took to the race better than any other new host nation has for their inaugural race in the recent past. But I’m not sure the answer will be the same in Thailand. With so much government support for races these days, particularly given the value of a race – governments tend to see a Grand Prix as being a sign that they are open to the world – instances like this beg the difficult question of what Formula 1’s role in all of this is.

      6. @prisoner-monkeys Good tracks man, as always. However, the circuit length would be my problem. Its not that I do not enjoy the racing at Signapore, which I think is fantastic. But 2 2-hour dry races (not including the SC) would be a bit much. The sting comes out of these races far earlier than track based races usually and although there are many pro and cons about long street races, two novelty races oversteps the mark for me. It will be very interesting to see if the organisers learn from Singapore.

        1. @rbalonso – I did consider that, and I tried to create something that would actually be very high speed. Although both are quite long, they are also very fast, so I imagine that a race on either of them would come in comfortably under two hours.

      7. The first one looks really interesting.

      8. The first one is right in front of my house!
        Sadly, many corners are too tight and very dangerous.

        1. And they do need big modifications to make them safe.

      9. The first has some Tilke-esque parts (malaysia comes to mind – which I like), but the 2nd one is more like Monza!
        However, realising we’re talking street circuits here they could be extra interesting or extra boring…

        Boy, the excitement I felt when the high speed street circuit Valencia was introduced… At least this year was good, despite the track.

      10. You guys create a map, but I’m more interested on how they would name the corners. That would be challenging for the commentators! Thanon Ratchadamnoen Klang hairpin, anyone?

        1. That “Thanon Ratchadamnoen Klang” hairpin would be named as “Democracy Monument” hairpin, I think.


      Not quite realistic, but I tried my best to make something cool out of this terrible news (which I had seen coming).


        This one is actually feasible and the idea of a high-speed urban road circuit actually gets me excited.

    4. Well if you set a challenge. Here’s mine.
      I quite like it, with the pits complex to be built Sanamluang Park.

    5. Maybe we see ladyboys replace the grid girls for thai gp

  2. wow.. 3 races in South East Asia.

    Put it back to back in one month if possible

  3. What’s next? Indonesia GP? Laos GP? Timor Leste GP perhaps?

    1. The Sentul circuit which played host to a GP2 Asia Series round in ’08 could host the Indonesian GP?

      1. Sentul was originally intended to host an Indonesian Grand Prix, but the plan fell through halfway through construction and the circuit was shortened so that the incomplete circuit would at least be good for something. They’re lucky they got anything done at all, because it wasn’t long before Asia went into economic meltdown.

    2. well at least, we have one driver here in indonesia (Rio Haryanto, GP3 multiple winner, 1 GP2 pole and FL), and he’s at the moment one of the fastest young asian driver. so maybe when he finally get an F1 seat and with our current healthy economy growth, its not impossible to see another South East Asian GP

  4. Well that’s something I didn’t want to hear. Another street race that will probably be boring. At this rate there will be a vast shortage of traditional race circuits on the calendar.

    1. At this rate there will be a vast shortage of traditional race circuits on the calendar.

      There’s only a handful of “traditional race circuits” in the world. So long as the calendar keeps expanding, new circuits will quickly start to out-number the old circuits, which means you will always be able to complain about it, even if none of those old circuits are actually removed from the calendar.

      Just look at the “traditional” circuits that have been removed from the calendar, particularly the European ones: Imola, Magny-Cours, Estoril, the Red Bull Ring (formerly the A1-Ring), Zandvoort and Zolder. In all honesty, if there were six circuits that I had to permanently remove from the calendar, it would be these six. Perhaps the only circuit that Formula 1 is weaker for not returning to is Watkins Glen, and the sport outgrew the circuit decades ago.

      1. Whats wrong with the A1 Ring?? Its an excellent cricuit. Id gladly see races being held at Imola or Magny Cours than at featureless venues such as Abu Dhabi or Korea where no-one turns up. Or Bahrain,where the circuit is sponsored by the bloodthirsty ruling family.

        1. Yeah, @prisoner-monkeys, in what ways exactly is say Abu Dhabi or Bahrain better than a high-speed blast through the mountains or the up and down of Imola? I never really understood the criticism of Magny-Cours either – I for one loved the quick chicanes (or “chickens”).

          The other three I wouldn’t know much about to be fair, but I can’t imagine them being worse than an airfield with 90-degree turns.

          1. in what ways exactly is say Abu Dhabi or Bahrain better

            A more-global presence, for one. The Middle East is a region of the world that the sport can’t ignore.

            than a high-speed blast through the mountains or the up and down of Imola?

            Imola is little more than chicanes these days. I’d hardly call it “a high-speed blast up and down the mountain”. It might have been, once, but it’s since been neutered.

            I never really understood the criticism of Magny-Cours either

            Because it’s pretty boring.

        2. Whats wrong with the A1 Ring?? Its an excellent cricuit.

          It’s too small for Formula 1. In its final year, the cars were going so fast that they were getting very close to lapping in under a minute, and the FIA decided that enough was enough. With the current levels of downforce, almost everyone except HRT would probably be able to do a lap in under a minute.

      2. Very few of those circuits you have listed could reasonably make any claim to tradition except possibly for Zandvoort. Only Imola and Zandvoort hosted more than 20 races, and Zandvoort is the only one of those three to have appeared on the calendar before 1980. And Imola, in particular, was never a circuit F1 went to due to any great love of Imola, but (as is frequently commented on by season reviews and journalistic articles from the 1980s and 1990s) because it was felt that Italy merited two races a year and it happened to be Italy’s second circuit.

        “Traditional” is not a euphemism for “European”.

        1. You think I didn’t take that into consideration? I’m struggling to name circuits outside Europe with a twenty-year-plus history that people would mourn the loss of as a “traditional” venue.

          1. Well, you started to take it into consideration; your first paragraph seemed to be leading in to arguing (correctly) that there aren’t really any traditional circuits (except, perhaps, Zandvoort) that have been lost to F1 – but then you decided to list a bunch of European circuits you clearly knew weren’t traditional in an attempt to make a point about the quality of European circuits removed from the calendar instead.

            As for non-European circuits, well, Suzuka’s now seen 23 races, but I’m not going to claim a track added to the calendar in 1987 is traditional. Interlagos counts if Spa does (that is, if substantial modification and shortening of the track to accomodate safety concerns does not prevent a circuit from being traditional).

          2. then you decided to list a bunch of European circuits you clearly knew weren’t traditional in an attempt to make a point about the quality of European circuits removed from the calendar instead

            Name one “traditional” European circuit that has been removed from the calendar. Because that’s what we’re talking about: not “traditional” circuits, but “traditional” circuits that are not on the calendar anymore.

            As for non-European circuits, well, Suzuka’s now seen 23 races, but I’m not going to claim a track added to the calendar in 1987 is traditional. Interlagos counts if Spa does (that is, if substantial modification and shortening of the track to accomodate safety concerns does not prevent a circuit from being traditional).

            Those might be “traditional” circuits, but none of them have been removed from the calendar.

  5. franco del as no sabe nada de f1
    27th September 2012, 10:57

    i will spend a few weeks in pattaya, next month, i wish the gp in bangkok was now.

  6. As long as the circuit isn’t full of mickey mouse sections I’m fine. Night races do have a nice spectacle though.

    1. On one hand,F1 reverts back to V6 engines to demonstrate its commitment to ecofriendly actions,on the other hand,multiple night races are going to grace the calender. Which smacks of hypocrisy,imho…

  7. Just what F1 needs, another slow, insipid street circuit in a country with nothing to offer F1 but a large pot of cash. Bernie seems to be taking every step possible to decimate F1’s TV viewership with these awful new clone events, and the new pay-TV deals.

    Thailand doesn’t even need F1, it’s not like it’s not a destination anyway. Thailand should hold onto their money and use it for some real development, and Bernie should try and bring F1 to somewhere that offers something more unique to ‘the show’ and has an audience to appreciate it.

    1. Agreed. Singapore needs an attraction like F1 but Thailand doesn’t, it’s already got enough attractions. Thismjust spunds like another pie in the sky idea.

  8. I have to say that the Thai racer surely has the best name ever for F1, i know that you have mentioned that he was B Bira, but how great would it have been if he had kept his full name, and what would have been his 3 letters for his name if he had…!

  9. So long as the obsenely rich in F1 become slightly richer I’m happy.

  10. Having one night race is fine. Multiple night races just won’t be a novelty anymore, and as only the track is illuminated, will likely look far too similar to Singapore. I’ll hold of full judgement until I see a track map though. New Jersey surprised me with how good the layout is, so maybe this will do the same.

    1. +1 but there could be a high possibility of neither!

  11. Just another one to add to the list.. I can’t see how they can cope awarding 2 races to the USA when there’s a long list of countries wanting to hold a race (Russia, France, Thailand, Argentina, South Africa, Mexico, the list goes on)

    The best way I can see the calendar having to cope with all the incoming races is by having a massive rotation system, grouping tracks into continents and then allowing each continent a certain number of races, weighted by driver’s preferences, track USPs, calendar constraints and popularity with the fans.

    That’s the closest I could come up with to a ‘perfect system’, but to actually put it into practice would be a logistical nightmare, and expensive to pay off contracts for tracks like Silverstone that are on the calendar till 202X (Can’t remember the precise date)

  12. Hurray! Another badly thought out street race in another country where no-one cares at night time in front of nobody and after 3 years everyone eill get bored and the government won’t want to pay and it’ll be replaced by yet another one of these. Repeat ad infinium.

    1. Except, it isn’t those that are being pushed off the calender, but tracks like Nuremberg and Spa as they can’t keep up with the new cost figures.

  13. I really hope this doesn’t happen. There are already too many races in the east to begin with, in comparison to drivers, support and teams. Also if they have a night race, then Singapore just becomes a- another race, with nothing special at all.

    1. Agree with you we have an influx of asian grand prixs and the poorer ones like china and korea have good prospects of staying whereas suzuka seems under pressure to come up with the money when its a great track and having another night race detracts the appeal of singapore and thailand.

      My ideal calendar would be:

      Australia Melbourne
      Malaysia Sepang (Back to Back)


      Spain Barcelona
      Monaco (Back to Back)

      Canada Montreal
      New York (Back to Back)


      France Paul Ricard


      Hungary (Back to Back)

      Summer break

      Spa Francochamps
      Monza (Back to Back)




      Austin Texas (Back to Back)

      Brazil Interlagos

      Obviously not all the races here are confirmed, but in my opinion I took the races out abu dhabi and bahrain because the races have not been good enough but also is there a love for f1 or motorsport in general, I picked places like Texas and Mexico because the former as a nation has a large following of motorsport fans and Mexico has a great lineage and history and with f1’s breakout star Sergio Perez it could be a big success. I left the gap between texas and brazil just to allow for all of us to ponder and think and discuss what may happen if the championship goes down to the wire.
      Those are my reasons please respond and post your own calendars.

      1. The Circuit de Catalunya isn’t a great track but it could be improved by removing that horrible final chicane.

        1. To which you have offered no solution to the problem in which the chicane was implemented to solve.

          1. @mike – I assume he means reverting the circuit to its original, pre-chicane configuration.

            I doubt that will work. The chicane was put in place to address a problem. It didn’t work. Removing the chicane isn’t going to fix the problem. It’s just going to remove the chicane.

            Personally, I don’t think there is any easy solution to the problem, short of radically altering the final sector.

  14. I’m optimistic about this because i’ve still yet to see a race worse than Monaco.

  15. In the words of John McKenroe, “You cannot . . . .”

  16. I don’t know about a night race : according to Jean-Louis Moncet (french F1 commenter for the last 20 years — for what it’s worth), one part of the renewed deal between Singapore and Ecclestone is that Singapore would “remain the only 100%-night race in the calendar”.
    Though after reading his post, I can’t say if that means until 2017 (as the new contract duration) or just the next calendar, in which case Thailand could have that schedule for 2014…

    1. But then what’s to stop Thailand being 99% night?

      1. Haha true, I guess starting with lights off would mean it’s not night yet

  17. The 2013 F1 calendar has, at the moment, four races in the Americas, seven in Europe, two in the Middle East and seven in Asia or on the Pacific Rim. That’s actually a pretty decent balance – I’d say that South and North America should have two races each (which could be achieved by replacing New Jersey with Argentina), and ideally we’d eventually like at least one African race, but overall it’s worth keeping.

    The obvious solution to the demands of geographical balance and all the places that want a race is a rotation system; the problem with such a system is that it’s inherently unstable, assuming that F1 is going to want to go to Monaco every year – once you create that exception, everyone else is going to try and get an annual race too.

    1. Argentina is in no state to hold a race. Just ask @fer-no65 for all the gory details.

      At a guess, I’d say Chile and Venezuela are the only two South American nations that could feasibly hold a race. But Chile’s population is probably too small to sustain a race for long, and Venezuela has a reputation as a pretty rough place.

      1. Yes, Argentina’s economy is sufficiently bad that actually talking about how bad it is will get you arrested in Buenos Aires these days. However, the fact that the Argentine economy is in no state to be supporting frivolous expenditures such as an F1 race (mind, you could say the same thing about the Spanish – or, as perhaps it might be by the next time the calendar rolls around – the Catalan) doesn’t mean that it can’t find the money. In fact, with the Kirchner government casting around for as many distractions from the state of the economy as it can find (see an entirely manufactured Falklands dispute, for example), I’m not sure the wreck of an economy even makes it less likely.

        Bahrain was in no state to hold a race last year, either. Didn’t actually prevent it from happening. Ditto South Africa for many years.

        1. Bahrain was in no state to hold a race last year, either. Didn’t actually prevent it from happening.

          You seem to be missing my point. I don’t know about the political situation in Argentina, which is why I didn’t say anything about it. But from an economic point of view, the country is in no condition to host a race. On the other hand, while Bahrain was politically unstable, they were able to hold a race from an economic standpoint, mostly because the people controlling the economy are the people who paid for the race.

  18. There are already two slow, complex street circuits on the calendar in Monaco and Singapore. I usually enjoy these races as they are something different and both bring unique looking backdrops and a sense of occasion. I’m ignoring Valencia and Melbourne as they don’t have the same characteristics to me.

    If the New Jersey race, and now this go ahead I fear it’ll devalue the above tracks and make the street circuit races less of a spectacle. I think there’s only so many races a year that people will watch cars designed for purpose built tracks and high speeds snake around narrow, difficult to overtake on street circuits.

  19. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    27th September 2012, 13:56

    How many races can Bernie allow for 2014? I mean, if this one is included then their will be 3 new tracks in 2 years (2013/14), in New Jersey, Russia, and now Thailand.

    He’s going to have to drop some tracks to fit them in presumably. Otherwise i dont know how the engines (and teams) will hold up on a possible 22 race season, given that this season the teams are saying that 20 races is the limit.

    Will definitely be interesting to see how it pans out.

    1. The current Concorde Agreement allows for a maximum of 17 races, which can be increased to 20 with the unanimous agreement of the teams. I have heard that Bernie wants the new Concorde to have a maximum if 20 races with a provision for 24, again pending unanimous agreement from the teams.

  20. The home of the original Red Bull! And of course, Prince Bira, who competed in Grand Prix racing back in the 50s. Thailand definitely has some history to offer Fomula 1 then, but I would certainly prefer building another road course rather than another street circuit. Better prospects of a good course with plenty of overtaking! The very thought of another stret circuit (though they may still be in the minority) is getting cheesy already.

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