MAY 21, 2024

Thailand could push Monza off F1 calendar

A potential new Formula 1 race in Thailand looks set to oust an existing European race host from the sport's annual calendar.

Italian GP 2023
© Alfa Romeo

Christian Estrosi, the mayor of Nice, told L'Equipe newspaper this week that France must host a grand prix, after the Paul Ricard event he promoted fell off the schedule after the 2022 edition.

He has been charged by the federal government with preparing a feasibility report for the potential return of a French GP - perhaps on the streets of Nice.

But much more advanced are arrangements to bring F1 to Thailand. F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali met with the Thai prime minister in April to discuss a potential street race in the capital, Bangkok.

Thai PM Srettha Thavisin was then at Imola last weekend, as he confirmed afterwards that he had a discussion with executives of the Formula One Group.

This resonates with our policy to place Thailand on the global radar for international events and activities, the prime minister added.

A new Thai GP would increase the race calendar to 25 grands prix - something Domenicali says he does not want to do.

Angelo Sticchi Damiani, boss of Italy's automobile club Aci, is therefore worried about the fate of the country's two grands prix - at Imola and Monza.

The iconic Monza's F1 contract expires next year, with major reconstruction works to bring the Italian GP venue up to modern standards currently underway.

When we have certainty from the government regarding the possibility of public funding, we will be able to try to have an agreement with Formula 1, Sticchi Damiani is quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

We are aiming for a ten-year agreement, on the model recently inaugurated by Hungary.

Sticchi Damiani said he noticed that the Thai PM was at Imola last weekend.

We are in a context where everything is changing rapidly, he said. "The prime minister of an Asian country that wants F1 was present in Imola.

"The issue is that on the one hand Liberty Media is pushing to compete in places that can offer hospitality services that can be sold for large sums, in particular the Paddock Club.

"On the other hand, the bulk of the competition comes from Europe where we will have Madrid coming in and two great nations like France and Germany don't have a grand prix at all but are pushing.

In short, making proclamations is useless. We need to be realistic and understand that we need to act quickly and that time is not our ally, Sticchi Damiani added.