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F1 closing in on latest new addition to the calendar as key market identified

Several countries in south-east Asia are courting F1 in a bid to join the calendar

Greg Maffei
To news overview © XPBimages

F1 has named the market it feels will add the greatest value to its burgeoning calendar as it closes in on a race in the region.

Since the arrival of Liberty Media in 2017, F1's growth has resulted in the calendar expanding to a record-breaking 24 grands prix this year.

The sport's owners have received numerous requests in recent years from countries eager to join the bandwagon, and despite talk of a potential fourth race in the United States - with Chicago mooted but roundly dismissed - it is South-East Asia that is poised to play host to a second race.

At present, only Singapore stages a race in the region as Malaysia was last on the calendar in 2017, whilst the ill-fated Korean Grand Prix ran for just four years from 2010 to 2013.

Although F1 has additional races in Asia, with China and Japan, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has recently been engaged in talks with potential South-East Asian hosts in Thailand, Korea, as well as Indonesia.

Following the successful return of the Chinese Grand Prix in April after its lengthy Covid-induced absence from the calendar, Domenicali met with delegations from Thailand and Korea in the days after.

The Thai government is eager to stage a race in Bangkok, around the Rattanakosin Island region of the capital city; in Korea, Yoo Jeong-bok, the mayor of Incheon, the country's third-largest city, wrote a letter of intent to Domenicali.

Thailand is the frontrunner, particularly after F1 hosted a delegation in Imola over the recent Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend.

Addressing the possibility of further growth in Asia, speaking at an 'F1 in Depth' event in Monaco on Thursday, at which RacingNews365 was in attendance, Maffei said: "We're lucky that we were able to get a Chinese race off this year after four years.

"It was very successful. The interest in China has exploded, in part, because we now have a Chinese driver [Zhou Guanyu].

"Critically, you see cultural identity so much when you have drivers from a country, [and] when you have teams from a country, so that's been great to see the growth in China.

"But there's a lot of interest across Asia, as we have interest from many cities. But in Asia, [we have] Thailand, Seoul, we've had interest from Indonesia. There are lots of places which want a Formula 1 race.

"We have really looked at the intersection of where our fans are, where they could be, who could run a great race, and who can frankly afford a race - all those sorts of intersections of those three circles.

"I think you could very easily see a second one in Southeast Asia."

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