Bang goes Bangkok's F1 chances
WHAT F1 WILL BE MISSING: The Grand Palace in Bangkok - one of the awesome monuments to architectural beauty that F1 fans won't now be seeing. mage: Thai Tourism
BANGKOK, Thailand - Bangkok's chances of hosting a lucrative Formula 1 race have faded after planners banned car racing from the city's historic quarter.
The city was touted to host a landmark F1 night race in 2015 with a track mooted for the tourist area around the Grand Palace and a number of major Buddhist temples but Bangkok's Metropolitan Authority has halted the proposal with a law banning "car racing" from the zone.
Kriangphon Pattanarat, director-general of city planning department, told AFP: "The law came into effect on May 16 prohibiting car racing in inner Bangkok because that area is a conservation for culture and arts."
THOUSANDS OF TOURISTS
The law has been under discussion for two or three years, he said, adding it was not specifically targeted at F1.
F1 would likely have brought tens of thousands of wealthy tourists to the capital as the sport looks to deepen its influence in Asia but opposition to the proposed race had been voiced by local residents around the potential track who said the event would have damaged their incomes and caused more traffic in the already grid-locked city.
Minister of tourism and sport, Somsak Phurisisak, confirmed the law had been enacted and car-racing could no longer take place in the city's historic zone.
"Whatever is illegal we will not do," he said, but hoped F1's governing body would consider a race in another Thai province.
The move into Bangkok would have marked a new milestone in F1's drive into Asia. Singapore, Malaysia, China, South Korea and Japan are all on the 2013 racing calendar.