Formula 1 eyeing races in Thailand, South Korea and Indonesia

© XPB 

As Formula 1’s global fanbase continues to expand, Liberty Media, the sport's commercial rights owner, is setting its sights on new territories, with Southeast Asia a target for future races.

Liberty’s chief executive Greg Maffei hinted at the high likelihood of a race joining the calendar from this region, with Thailand, South Korea, and Indonesia all expressing strong interest according to the American executive.

This strategic territorial move comes after solidifying the presence of Formula 1 in the United States with three races.

The success of the Chinese Grand Prix this year further strengthens the case for expansion into Asia. Maffei, speaking at an 'F1 in Depth' event last week in Monaco, highlighted the Shanghai event race as a prime example of the potential for growth in new markets.

“We're lucky that we were able to get a Chinese race this year after four years,” he said, referring to the event’s multiple cancellation in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

“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].”

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali with Liberty Media boss Greg Maffei at the Monaco GP.

During the ‘F1 in Depth’ event in Monaco, Maffei shared some of the valuable insights gained from Formula One Management’s decision to directly promote the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

FOM’s hands-on approach allows them to gather valuable data on what excites fans, which can then be applied to future races around the world.

“We've really changed the sport in many ways,” added Maffei. “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."

Despite the now-infamous drain cover incident that caused disruption on the opening day of running, the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix was ultimately deemed a success.

Building on those learnings, Maffei expressed his confidence that this year's Vegas race will be even better.

“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,” he admitted.

“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.

“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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