Formula One Eyes Expansion in Southeast Asia Amid Surging Asian Interest

Formula One is witnessing increased interest in China and Southeast Asia, with potential new races in Thailand, South Korea, and Indonesia. After a successful return to China, the sport looks poised to add more races in Asia, driven by growing local engagement and investment.

Reuters | Updated: 24-05-2024 15:29 IST | Created: 24-05-2024 15:29 IST
Formula One Eyes Expansion in Southeast Asia Amid Surging Asian Interest

Formula One is seeing a surge of interest in China and could easily add a second race in southeast Asia, according to the boss of the sport's owners Liberty Media.

Chief Executive Greg Maffei said at the Monaco Grand Prix that Thailand, South Korea and Indonesia were all interested in hosting an Asian round, with the championship currently at a record 24 races. South Korea previously hosted a grand prix in Mokpo but local organisers are now interested in bringing racing to the capital Seoul.

Thailand's Prime Minister attended last weekend's race at Italy's Imola circuit, with talk of a race in Bangkok, while Liberty Media recently acquired MotoGP, which has races in Thailand and Indonesia. Formula One returned to China this year after a four-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with Sauber's Guanyu Zhou making his home debut.

"We're lucky that we were able to get a Chinese race off this year after four years (out)," Maffei told an event attended by Las Vegas Grand Prix promoters. "It was very successful. The interest in China has exploded in part because we now have a Chinese driver.

"There's a lot of interest across Asia...Thailand, Seoul, we've had interest from Indonesia. "There are lots of places which want a Formula One race and we really look to the intersection of where our fans are and where they could be, who could run a great race and who can frankly afford a race.

"I think you could very easily see a second one in Southeast Asia," he added. Singapore is the only southeast Asian race after Malaysia's round was dropped. Thailand is represented on the Formula One grid by British-born Williams driver Alex Albon, whose mother is Thai.

Maffei also said Formula One, which has invested heavily in Las Vegas, hoped to build on last year's inaugural night grand prix on the famed Strip in which problems with loose drain covers halted practice. "We would surely like to make more money in Las Vegas but over time, I expect we will," he said

"I think we'll be smarter next time. And we'll be more efficient and will probably be less disruptive to the community and understand better what the fans want," Maffei said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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