Thailand now considering Phuket as Grand Prix venue

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In the round-up: The Thai government may try to hold an F1 race in the popular tourist destination of Phuket after a new law prevented racing in Bangkok.


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Phuket tipped to be venue for Thai GP (Bangkok Post)

“Phuket is likely to be the venue for Thailand’s first Formula One race in 2015, Tourism and Sports Minister Somsak Pureesrisak said yesterday.”

Pirelli hits out at Red Bull criticism (Autosport)

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery: “They have been strong, but some of the comments are very difficult to understand when you look at the performance. Maybe some other teams might have a reason, but you are leading the championship, and still complaining?”

Domenicali Q&A (Sky)

“We are waiting to see because I believe that the test that we did with the prototype tyres in Canada was not enough as the conditions were very extreme. I believe there is the need to do some more testing, but we will discuss it over the coming days.”

Jenson Button concedes world title is beyond him, but vows to get McLaren back to the top (The Independent)

“In terms of the championship – 2014. But in terms of every race I go into, I want to do the best I can, and every race I go into I hope to get the maximum out of the car, and I aim to win grands prix this year.”

Rookie diary – Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez (F1)

“What I can say is that I have to improve in qualifying. Getting a perfect lap – that is something I still have to work on. In the race it hasn’t been that bad – the speed has actually been pretty good. When I spoke of balance before, getting the right balance between qualifying and race is high on my agenda.”

Friends describe F1 marshal killed at Grand Prix as a major racing fan (CTV)

“Mark Robinson, who volunteered as a marshal for Sunday’s race, slipped under the wheel of a crane as it was escorting Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber car from the track, which had not finished the Montreal race.”

Message of condolences (FIA)

Jean Todt: “I would like to share my profound sadness, and that of the whole FIA community, following the tragic death of the circuit worker, who was working as a volunteer marshal at the Canadian Grand Prix.”

David Coulthard: Montreal streets ahead of Monaco (BBC)

“I felt genuinely stirred by the fact it looked racy. You could see people physically on the limit. We know the difference between seeing people cruising out of a corner and working it out of a corner. We saw drivers pushing, exploiting their performance; we saw aggressive wheel-to-wheel racing. Just like Formula 1 should be.”


Comment of the day

@Omarr-Pepper sees no reason for Sebastian Vettel to leave Red Bull as he extends his contract for a year:

I’m predicting him to be a five (or even six) times champion when this contract ends. Probably renewed again.

Why would he leave if the team is so good? Hamilton left McLaren because he was just fed up of the “usual” poor reliability at the beginning of the seasons, so he has the possibility to make a team being built around him (if he can finally beat Rosberg on a regular basis), and Alonso left Renault going to McLaren because it was a big team (and probably he knew Renault was not going to be the same the following year). Alonso couldn’t have imagined how good a rookie could be to match him being the reigning champion.

When Schumacher found the magic formula, he didn’t go to another team to prove himself (the Mercedes deal was when he had already lost momentum after two sabbatical years).

Vettel has found (or much better, been found by) this “magic formula” and will leave just if the good times fade. It would be good to see him jumping into another team, for sure it would be, but there’s no reason to do it now.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

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If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Rene Arnoux won the Canadian Grand Prix from pole position 30 years ago today.

His Ferrari team mate Patrick Tambay came home third behind Eddie Cheever’s Renault, the latter equalling the best result of his career.

Image © Red Bull/Getty

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88 comments on “Thailand now considering Phuket as Grand Prix venue”

  1. Thai Grand Prix organisers:

    “We were going to have a Grand Prix in Bangkok but Ph…”

    1. You got me :(

    2. Damn… beat me to it :-D

      1. Please don’t say that! don’t find it essensial!!

    3. Ben (@scuderia29)
      12th June 2013, 0:28


    4. Definitely a COTD nominee!

    5. This is the kind of story that could only come out of Thailand. It´s hilarious, and so typical of the corruption and stupidity in government there.

      A law past last month, against Motor Racing. How convenient! Money, or political capital, will have changed hands to ensure a change of venue – and a change of law. And that will all be about someone somewhere paying someone else to ensure their region gets this race that will never happen.

      The only interest the people involved in this farce, at the government level have, is how much money, and how much influence, they can make both inside the country and from foreign sources. And these people don´t have one jot of interest in the race ever even happening.

      I doubt it has even occurred to them yet that they have to pay to have Formula One come to Thailand.

      This is a terrible shame, as Thailand is a fantastic country with a great passion for racing (I have both raced and lived there myself), with a wonderful people who would adore this spectacle – and welcome both fans and the F1 Circus itself with open arms.

      In a previous article when concerns about safety and noise were raised about a city center race around historical locations in Bangkok, an assertion was made by one of the ministers for sport (motor racing no less) that they could simply “have Mr. Ecclestone turn the noise of the engines down”…

      1. What do you call it when events like Melbourne and Korea continually run at a loss after Bernie Ecclestone is paid.
        Millions of dollars tax payers money is sucked out to feather the nests elite of Formula 1 officials and the sheeple just accept it.
        If this is not corruption then I don’t know what is.

        I am not Thai, I am Australian, taking offense at your corruption comment.

        A shovel is just a spade by another name.

        1. @resort2spa

          If this is not corruption then I don’t know what is.

          No, you really don’t. When details of the contract between FOM and the organisers of the Australian Grand Prix came to light, Bernie made it pretty clear that more than half the funds paid by the organisers go to the teams to cover their costs – and that the teams still run at a loss. Some money does go to FOM and CVC, but that money is used to repay the debt Bernie owes CVC when he borrowed money to but the rights to the sport and used to grow the sport at a rate of one race per year since 2004.

          1. You still putting out this fanciful PR for Bernie,
            Fact; CVC borrowed a couple of Billion to pay Bernie for the rights to F1
            Fact; Bernie never borrowed money from CVC
            Fact; The only money Bernie ever invested in F1 (after selling his team) came out of revenue earned.
            Fact; Bernie is paid $5million p.a. to run F1 and still controls 15% of F1, valued somewhere between 150-250 million.
            Fact; Bernie and CVC have made more money out of F1 races than all the teams combined.

          2. Thank you.
            When Korean taxpayers lose 30 million plus
            Australia = -$10milion

            This money ends up somewhere.
            Somewhere near the top, I would imagine. (or the bankers) and I don’t know which would be worse.

            It is all 1 big steaming pile of corruption. Just because an average punter can go to Thailand and pay a corrupt police officer to look the other way doesn’t mean that Thailand is more corrupt than the “City of London”

      2. Absolutely. Fingers crossed that the right kind of big money can put this back on track.

        And let’s not forget Prince Bira either. His memory would be a fantastic rallying point for Thailand and F1. :)

        1. I’ve look up and found that Prince Bira actually got a podium once at Monaco Grand Prix. So to say that Thais got nothing to do with F1 is probably not right.

  2. From Bangkok to Phuket..?

    They have some interesting names for places in Thailand…

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      12th June 2013, 0:10

      COTD! …. now I know what word to say when I want to avoid this site restrictions hahahaha

    2. Interesting enough for a little word play on an AirAsia advertisement. True story :)

    3. Whilst travelling last year I passed through Thailand and I must admit a lot of what I saw was quite sad. Particularly Phuket and the other toursit-islands – to see such a beautiful and clearly cultural country being pillaged by multinationals, drunks westerners and prostitution – it’s so sad. I know I was travelling myself but I can (and do) drink in the UK so why would I want to go half way around the world and do the same. Honestly, Phuket is one of the biggest dives I’ve ever visited, and despite it’s coastal beauty, I hated it. Another desperate attempt by the Thai government to attract yet more tourists and ignoring the greater issues in their country.

    4. Aditya (@adityafakhri)
      12th June 2013, 4:11

      I really don’t understand, what’s so funny in ‘Phuket’? -_-

      1. Not important. Phuket!

      2. I’m guessing it has to do with the fact that the letters ‘ph’ can also be pronounced as ‘f’ :)

        1. Abdurahman (@)
          12th June 2013, 7:30

          Yet Phuket is pronounced poo- ket. There is no F sound at all.

          Yes, Phuket is a dive and a race there sounds lame. A race through the streets of Bangkok would have been phenomenal. Corruption in SE Asia is rampant and quite the norm. But then corruption exists everywhere, even in our “civilized” western socities. The good thing about corruption in SE Asis is that it is generally manageable. In the west it is billions in back room deals by multi nationals. In Cambodia for example, you get stopped by the police for driving your moto without a license, headlight on, they just want to stop you etc., you pay em off with a pack of smokes or 5 bucks max. And yes, prostitution is there and freely available. And YET, in the west it is the same. It is just behind a “massage” parlor sign or door. It is all relative.

  3. In regards to comment of the day, Vettel loves the records and numbers, so yes he just may stay as long as he can to beat all of Schumacher’s records. And with Red Bull competitive year after year, that certainly could be possible. But he is also human, and after a while things get boring, and he may want a new challenge. Also would like to see him bring a struggling team back to the top.

    1. @ivz There is people that spend 20 years in the same company. So maybe Vettel and RBR relationship is good enough to last long. But is useless to think about it now, at least for another year.

    2. I’d like to see him travel to Mars in a self built rocket otherwise I will not consider him a true champion. Seriously list all the greats who went to struggling teams and brought them back please… Yeah, I thought so!

  4. cotd of the day says ‘alonso knew renault wouldnt be the same the following year’ He signed at the end of 05 for 07?

    and schumi staying when he found the magic formula he never left to prove himself. so what was leaving Benetton all about then?

    They both left because they had done what they could at those teams and wanted a bigger challenge. Seb has yet to do this

    1. My recollection is Schumi went to Ferarri for a record breaking Salary of $12million which together with personal sponsorships made him the worlds top earning sportsman.

      1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        12th June 2013, 1:38

        @hohum as “magic formula I was talking about his 5-years-streak in Ferrari, not his 2 championships at Benneton (and especially remember the first came when Senna had passed away, so the contenders were not so skilled)

        1. @omarr-pepper
          You were waaay off the mark on both Schumacher and Alonso. Both left the champiohship winning team in order to join a team they always wanted to drive for, even though Ferrari was in doldrums and McLaren haven’t won a single race in 2006.

          Schumacher could have easily won 1996 and 1997 championships with Benetton. They had the team to rival Williams and the had the same engines.

          Also you missed the fact that Alonso signed for McLaren at the end of 2005, which was over a year in advance. It had nothing to do with either team’s performance at the moment. It’s just that he always wanted to drive for them, just like Schumacher wanted to drive for Ferrari.

        2. Did you watch F1 at the time? saying they were less skilled is harsh.

          I watched the racing at the time and that is simply not fair. Also yes he got alot of money when he went, but that was not the main reason. Benetton were on top of their game and by far better pit strategies. Most of the Benetton team also went with him. He was part of the great team falv built up and it took a few years to come together and it did in 94 and 95. Same for fernando in 05/06.

          There is alot of rubbish spoke about that era of F1. Wiki is the worse thing to happen to memories of sport.

          1. Agree. Wiki has a reputation for being very incorrect with it’s facts. It’s a site i never use .

        3. Less skilled is utter ********. Senna had a hard time until his accident in 1994. The Williams was not quick enough at that time. The other teams where up and coming, like Ferrari and McLaren but not quite there yet. Schumacher had a car that was completely suited to his driving style, as teammates Lehto and Verstappen couldn’t get a decent lap time out of it that year. Benneton bet on a one-car show and it worked. But to say there was no competition with drivers like Hill, Alesi, Berger and Hakkinen is nonsense imo.

      2. He was by far the best driver in world so Ferrari paid what he was worth. Going to Ferrari was more about the challenge of bringing the team back to greatness after being uncompetitive for much of the previous decade and a half.

        He could have jumped to Williams, to McLaren, he could have stayed as Benetton and won potentially 4-5 in a row. The fact he did go to an uncompetitive Ferrari at his peak and still come away with 7 championships and 91 wins is incredible.

  5. So Montezemolo wants Jean Todt to punish Ross Brawn. That would have been quite a headline 10 years ago.

    Brilliant, yet so true!

  6. Phuket that’s funny!

  7. I really want to hear about F1 2013 and the new features, but announcements keep getting pushed back. It has to be something very good to make up for this wait (we first heard about F1 2012 in March 2012!). I just hope the release date doesn’t get pushed back as well.

    1. I’d prefer it if they skipped 2013 altogether and concentrated on 2014 instead, since the 2013 regulations are very similar to the 2012 regulations, while the calendar has less circuits and the grid has less cars.

      1. I agree. I reckon they ought to simply create a 2013 patch to download for F1 2012. Just something simple to update the drivers and liveries, but while keeping the game itself fundamentally the same. Then focus on some real improvements for 2014.

      2. @prisoner-monkeys @jackysteeg I think the next generation consoles coming out must have a lot to do with it. I see your point because the cars are so similar (except for vanity panels basically), but F1 2012 still has many bugs (e.g. penalty system) and if they can make those improvements for 2013 then they stand in good stead for 2014.
        There is always demand for a new season game whether it’s F1 or FIFA. I was lost in 2007 and 08 when there were no F1 games.

    2. Is there a F1 2013 PC game ?
      i read somewhere that they will now launch games on the next generation of consoles?
      Athough , i would not mind F1 2013 game :)

      1. @svarun I have a feeling they will launch the game on current and next generation, which would include the PC, but I don’t know for certain. Since F1 2010 they have had a PC game so I see them carrying on with it.

  8. It’s pronounced Pooket

    1. Killjoy :P

    2. hehe “poo”…

      See it still works :p l0l

  9. As much i enjoyed the Canadian GP and the fight between Lewis & Fernando especially when Hamilton tried to slow down at the DRS detection & Fernando’s reaction to this trick as much i felt said for the marshal killed, it feels strange to me how the events conspired against him to die ,first he volunteered then Gutirez accident then he dropped his radio …… this is a reconstruction of the accident

    1. Why some would take the time to make a computer animation of a guy getting run over by a forklift is truly beyond me. And as for events ‘conspiring’ you could say the same about any accidental death. Maybe we could just say that’s it’s really sad and unfortunate and leave it at that.

      1. Maybe we could just say that’s it’s really sad and unfortunate and leave it at that.

        Well said (written?) @maciek!

  10. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    12th June 2013, 1:34

    YES!!! My maiden COTD.

    1. Felicidades!

      1. Portuguese?

        1. Spanish, portuguese will be “parabéns” :)

    2. Good COTD @omarr-pepper and I agree, when he moves out of Red Bull will be the day Newey retires.

      1. Lindsay Lohan is my girlfriend (@lindsay-lohan-is-my-girlfriend)
        12th June 2013, 8:56

        the day Newey retires is the day Key arrives (from Toro Rosso) – so nothing to worry about for Vettel or Red Bull not even in the long term. Key so much reminds me of the young Newey. building great cars with no money. (March leading races in 1988/89 vs Force India sitting on pole 09 and Saubers finishing on podium 2012)

  11. you are leading the championship, and still complaining?”

    Once again, Paul Hembery misses the point completely. Stop talking about the championship standings, that’s not your job.

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      12th June 2013, 2:40

      @john-h even more, probably Pirelli, as a “revenge” should change the tyres now that red bull has finally started to understand them. And RedBull should continue to ask for the safety change now, if not, they wouldn’t be believed (less than now I mean) as asking for something fair.

    2. @john-h – Pirelli’s logic is that Red Bull are winning, so they’re obviously managing their tyres well. Therefore, they have no cause to complain about the difficulties managing tyres.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys I understand the logic, but it is flawed because success in F1 is not 100% about tyres. If it were, I would agree with Hembery, but it isn’t, so I don’t.

        1. @john-h – So you believe Red Bull, then?

          In that case, consider this: Red Bull have been lobbying for changes to the tyres since the start of the year. They claimed that the tyres actually hurt their car. When Pirelli announced that they would change the tyres for the Canadian Grand Prix, the FIA shot it down and said that changes could only be made on the basis of safety. Without missing a beat, Red Bull immediately claimed that the current tyres are unsafe. They obviously want changes on the grounds of performance, but are just singing whatever song they think they have to sing to get the changes they want.

          In short, Red Bull have demonstrated that they are compromised on this subject. So it stands to reason that they will be exaggerating their tyre problems to try and put pressure on Pirelli to get what they want.

          1. @prisoner-monkeys the major flaw in your argument (and Pirelli’s) is that for most this has nothing to do with Red Bull. I’d like to hope fans and those in charge will think about the sport and safety first. In that respect, how many people actually like seeing tyre delaminations, ruining a driver’s weekend whist totally out with their control yet easily fixable? Or for that matter races where world champions are just giving away positions to “protect the tyres”?

            I can understand many may not share the viewpoint that the conservation levels are too much but I would bet there is a fairly significant number who don’t like these races (I happen to be one of them, but that’s irrelevant as my word is only one of many)! So I will simply ask you this: do you like these tyres?

          2. Please. This has everything to do with Red Bull. They might claim they are doing it for the good of the sport, but they have always felt that what is best for them is best for Formula 1.

      1. “To be consistent and make no mistakes and at the same time be competitive – that was something that I felt was a significant personal achievement. So, it wasn’t a race win, but the impression of having fully ‘inhaled’ Formula One. That was a very special feeling.

        That gave me goosebumps.. Well said Esteban!

        1. Sorrry i Meant THIS:

          “.. Of course being a Formula One driver conjures up all sorts of images, but I can say here and now that all these high-life fantasies are null and void – the car is my star..”


    3. Totally agree. He sounds like half the fanboys on the internet. It would be great if everyone involved could stay professional.

    4. @john-h he has doubly missed the point, as the very fact Red Bull are complaining even though they are winning is in fact better, as they can’t then be defined as “sore losers” since they are winning!

      Really though I’m beyond caring about the compounds debate, as long as it doesn’t become farcical with more 4-stop races I suppose I can bear it. However, if someone is injured or just simply has their weekend hindered by a tyre delamination then I do hope Hembrey is portrayed as a massive idiot.

      1. So what do we think the chances of Pirelli supplying tyres in 2014 are now?
        This entire situation looks like rather poor management and lack of executive communication.

        1. I think the chances of that are incredibly high, in fact, I can see no other manufacturer even considering entry at so late a stage and with the current limits on testing.

    5. I think there are different comments from red Bull but the important one is: driving 95% of the race at 95% of the limit isn’t racing.

      1. 95% !? we should be so lucky.

      2. That is pretty much true. It would be a time trial, not much unlike rallying. In racing its about the other guys on track as much as about going fast.

  12. Regarding the Thai GP: I was really excited that they were to host a Grand Prix in Bangkok, a city with nearly 6 million inhabitants. But now they are moving it to Phuket, a city with less than 100,000 inhabitants.

    If I know Bernie, he’s probably going to build a superduper luxurious resort-circuit, like Korea and India, with ridiculously high entry fees that will ensure the grandstands will remain empty.

    This is exactly why the Korean Grand Prix can be considered a complete failure: it’s fine that they want to promote themselves (after all, that’s how circuits like the Nürburgring first started), but if you want a GP to be successful in a country that is new to racing, you have to build it next to a large city, to ensure an income that will make the event sustainable.

    1. But now they are moving it to Phuket

      *But now there is a possibility that…

    2. This is exactly why the Korean Grand Prix can be considered a complete failure: it’s fine that they want to promote themselves (after all, that’s how circuits like the Nürburgring first started), but if you want a GP to be successful in a country that is new to racing, you have to build it next to a large city, to ensure an income that will make the event sustainable.

      That was the plan – the original design of the circuit envisioned a major commercial hub around it. The idea was to use the race to stimulate local growth. But the economic downturn hit the automotive industry hard, and any potential investment dried up.

    3. Yes, I agree. But at least Phuket has hotel accommodation and airport on hand – unlike Korea. high entrance and grandstand costs won’t have much of an impact on overseas visitors, but they will dampen attendance by locals. Are the stands at Singapore full of visitors or locals?
      Actually, wouldn’t it be funny if the Phuket local government also introduced a law banning racing too . . .

    4. Why would you be excited about race in a place like Thailand where no one even knows what is F1. Instead they should go back to places where there is a huge fanbase but no races, like France and Argentina. Perhaps in 10 years from now we will have a Tahiti grand prix

      1. I agree. Thailand isn’t a country where F1 should go, and I don’t see it happening anyway. Grandstands would be empty because of the lack of appetite for it there, like Korea. Look at how successful Austin was last year, because you know there’ll be appetite for it in the US, like there would be in France. I have much higher expectations for Sochi than this.

      2. I don’t like the fact that we go to Thailand and Korea instead of France and Argentina. But if you’d just accept the fact that Thailand is going to host a GP, then the best place would be near a big city – which justifies my excitement. Though it’s just making the best of a bad situation to be honest.

  13. Phuket rhymes with PUKE IT!!!!!


  14. I don’t get why Paul Hembrey decided to make a big deal out of Vettel’s Montreal comments considering that all Vettel was doing was clarifying his position based off a question he was been asked.

    And lets be honest Vettel’s complaints about the delaminations are correct & Pirelli themselfs have said they don’t want to see delaminations so is Paul Hembrey going to whine about himself for criticizing the tyres?

    1. There’s a big difference between talking about the tyres not being the best thing for the sport, and pushing the line that they are actually dangerous. Dangerous tyres is something a tyre manufacturer cannot allow, while supplying tyres not everyone is happy with is just a disagreement.

  15. I watched the marshall’s serious injury and the immediate medical response from the track as thousands of people poured out onto the track. I had no idea he had died and feel just horrible.

    1. the marshall got killed sadly

  16. Lotus Tech Boss Allison to head up the design of Honda F1 test pony in readiness for 2015.

    How interesting! As he will then innevitably end up at Mclaren as TD this is a good way for Mclaren Honda to do a year of testing without fear of retribution from the FIA. I think Mclaren are preparing for a couple of years of pain in order to go for glory with Honda in the first year.

    1. Further to this, I wonder where his desk will be. Woking? If my suspicions are correct I think Martin Whitmarsh is a little smarter than many of you guys give him credit for.

      1. I’m not sure Martin’s intelligence was ever in doubt, just his judgment. But yes, it does begin to look as though this is a well planned piece of development strategy.
        So, would this scenario be legal? McLaren produce a 2014 car intended to race with Merc engines. But they also produce and identical car designed to run with Honda (plus tyres). They give the car to Honda and Honda test it with their drivers and on non-Grand Prix tracks. Would Honda be allowed to give McLaren the data from those tests?

  17. Hell why do that.

    Some FIA employees are very absent minded!!

  18. The amount of win in this thread surpasses reddit or imgur. Well I was really going to visit those pages after this but Phuket.

  19. I want that Moby’s Beach OST for the GP’s theme.

Comments are closed.