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2012-12-21 08:49

DRESS REHEARSAL? Could Thailand's recent hosting of the 2012 Race of Champions at the Rajamangala stadium have been a sign of things to come?

ALAN BALDWIN

LONDON, England - Thailand expects to host a flood-lit Formula 1 GP in Bangkok in 2015 after plans were pushed back a year, the governor of the national sports authority said on Friday.

Kanokphand Chulakasem told the Bangkok Post newspaper:"An F1 race is likely to take place here in early 2015 instead of in 2014 in our initial plan," 

The 2014 season is due to see two new races, at Sochi in Russia and on a New Jersey street circuit, on a calendar which already has a record 20 rounds, but Thailand would be a novelty for the year after.

AGREEMENT IN PRINCIPLE

Bangkok's Rajamangala stadium recently hosted the annual Race of Champions event with Red Bull's triple World champion Sebastian Vettel teaming up with Michael Schumacher to win the team title for Germany.

The paper's website quoted Red Bull's Michael de Santiesteban, representative of the energy drink's Thai co-owner Chalerm Yoovidhya, as saying talks with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone were going well. "It is likely to be held in Bangkok. With Thailand on the calendar, a current race is likely to be removed," he said.

Chulakasem met Ecclestone at the September 2012 Singapore GP and said then that there was an agreement in principle for a race in 2014.

Tourism and sports minister Chumpol Silpa-archa said then that the government would bear 60% of the total cost and the rest would come from private companies.

Red Bull's British-based F1 team has won both championships for the past three years and is expected to back the Thai race.

South-east Asia already has two races, Malaysia and the night-time Singapore GP.

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