F1 says Thailand, South Korea and Indonesia eyeing races

With F1 satisfied that its three races in the United States are enough for that market, attention has shifted to other regions to capture a growing worldwide interest in grand prix racing.

Speaking at an F1 in Depth event in Monaco on Thursday night, which was co-hosted by Autosport Business, Maffei said that the successful return of the Chinese Grand Prix showed what was possible.

“We’re lucky that we were able to get a Chinese race this year after four years,” he said. “It was very successful. The interest in China has exploded in part because we now have a Chinese driver.

“Critically, you see cultural identity so much when you have drivers from a country, and when you have teams from a country. And so that’s been great to see the growth in China.

“But there’s a lot of interest across Asia, as we have interest from many cities. But in Asia, as you rightly point out: Thailand, Seoul, and we’ve had interest from Indonesia. There are lots of places which want a Formula 1 race.

“We have really looked at the intersection of where our fans are, where they could be, who could run a great race, and who can frankly afford a race — and all those sorts of intersections of those three circles.

“I think you could very easily see a second one in Southeast Asia [alongside China].”

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing RB9 leads at the start of the race

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing RB9 leads at the start of the race

Photo by: Patrik Lundin / Motorsport Images

Thailand’s prime minister visited last weekend’s Emilia Grand Prix as he pushes for a street race in Bangkok from either 2026 or 2027.

Vegas lessons

Maffei was joined at the F1 in Depth event by leading representatives of the Las Vegas Grand Prix and explained how F1 had come to understand better what fans wanted through its decision to become the race promoter of the event.

“We’ve really changed the sport in many ways,” he said. “One of them is this really was a B2B business where we really just dropped the product on the local promoter and they sold it. But more and more, between things like F1TV and promotions that we have been doing ourselves like Las Vegas, we understand the fans better. We’re a direct-to-consumer business and we understand their needs.

“That allows us to have better learnings and meet their needs better over time, including in Las Vegas. So I’m excited for what we can do together there. I think it’s going to be a great spectacle. And I hope it remains as thrilling a race as it was year one.»

And off the back of what turned out to be a successful inaugural Las Vegas grand prix last season, despite problems on the opening day when a drain cover came loose, Maffei said he expected this year’s event to be even better.

Asked what his hopes for the second Las Vegas Grand Prix were, Maffei said: “I hope we can get a race nearly as good, or even better. I hope we have no track failures early — that would be nice! That was a heartache too early.

“I think our dry run went very well, and we can only hope that the spectacle is as good. I expect we will learn to optimise and do things more efficiently because in some cases we move so quickly.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

“I really credit the team at LVGP and our partners in how quickly we moved to get that up. To get that race from literally zero in 15 months is amazing.

“I think we’ll be smarter next time. And we’ll be more efficient and that will probably be less disruptive to the community.»

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