Thai GP gets nod from boss

Thai GP gets nod from boss

The kingdom has struck an initial deal to host a Formula One race in 2014, Kanokphand Chulakasem, governor of the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT), said yesterday.

Kanokphand and an adviser to Red Bull owner Chalerm Yoovidhya met Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone during the Singapore Grand Prix at the weekend.

Kanokphand said yesterday it was agreed in principle at the meeting that Thailand would host a race in 2014.

"It will be a city race like that in Singapore and Monaco. It will be a night race like the Singapore Grand Prix," he said.

However, further talks are needed to finalise details particularly the fee, Kanokphand said.

Under a new contract, Singapore will have to pay a reported 1.25 billion baht fee a year and Thailand may have to pay the same amount, he said.

Tourism and Sports Minister Chumpol Silpa-archa earlier said the government would shoulder 60 per cent of the total cost and the rest would be paid by private companies such as Red Bull and Singha.

The idea of Ratchadamnoen Avenue hosting a Grand Prix race was initiated by Prince Birabongse Bhanudej Bhanuban _ better known as Prince Bira _ the country's first and only Grand Prix winner.

He planned to close roads in the Sanam Luang and Ratchadamnoen areas in 1939 for a Bangkok Grand Prix but his dream was dashed when World War II broke out.

In 2010, more than 100,000 people watched Thailand's first ever exhibition of Formula One driving on Ratchadamnoen Avenue.

Red Bull's Mark Webber drove his car for four laps from Phan Fa Bridge to the Khok Wua intersection.

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