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Phuket on the cards to host Thailand’s F1

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PHUKET: The Ministry of Tourism and Sports has admitted Phuket could host Thailand’s lucrative Formula One race in 2015 due to strong opposition from Bangkok residents.

Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) put the skids on the F1 race being held in the capital by banning the use of the historic Rattanakosin Island. The move came after residents and business owners complained that they believe that noise and vibrations caused by a F1 race could damage historic landmarks and Buddhist temples in and around the island.

The BMA issued a law on May 16 which prohibits car racing in historic Rattanakosin, where organizers had wanted to locate the F1 circuit. The timing of the law raises a few eyebrows as the agreement to host a lucrative night time floodlit street race was agreed with F1 supremo Bernie Eccelstone last year.

Thailand’s tourism and sports minister Somsak Phurisisak believes the race could be postponed or forced out of the capital, possibly to Phuket, Khon Kaen or Nakhon Ratchasima.

Out of the three cities mentioned, Phuket is the only one with the facilities available to accommodate a large influx of visitors to the F1 race. There has been no indication as to where the race would be held if it was to be hosted on Phuket.

Somsak added that efforts to launch a Thailand Formula One Grand Prix would not cease as the committee would look for a new site, focusing their search in the Chaengwattana Government Office Complex and Muang Thong Thani areas of the capital.

“In fact many cities have shown an interest in hosting the race. We have no plans to build a stadium, as the circuit is expected to run through cultural sites,”Somsak said.

Mr Somsak concluded that if the International Automobile Federation (FIA), which is overseeing the event, disagrees with the relocation plan, Thailand may need to postpone the race until further notice.

 

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