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Phuket's buses probably not up to 100,000 people daily at a Grand Prix

Phuket to Host Thailand's F1 Grand Prix: Easier for a Tuk-Tuk to Climb Everest

Wednesday, June 12, 2013
News Analysis

PHUKET: Whether Phuket is really an option for a Formula One Grand Prix is likely to be decided with the speed of a Sebastian Vettel Red Bull racing tyre change.

Thailand's Minister for Tourism and Sport, Somsak Pureesrisak, has said Phuket is the leading contender - perhaps the only contender - for a GP in Thailand in 2015, according to the Bangkok Post.

By chance, the minister is scheduled to visit Phuket tomorrow for a grand summit to address the issue of what needs to be done to preserve and enhance Phuket's beaches.

It's a fairly safe bet that journalists will be as keen to question Khun Somsak about the prospect of the world's top drivers burning rubber in Thepkasattri Road as they are about the quality of the sea water at Patong.

Having seen close up the introduction of the GP to Melbourne a long time ago, I can say that Phuket's chances of hosting a Grand Prix are minimal.

If the grand prix wasn't wanted in Bangkok, it's even less likely to be wanted on Phuket. Residents on Phuket vote yellow as in go slow, not Ferrari red.

There is just one chance, the kind of option that a brave driver might take on a swirling s-bend if he sees a glimmer of hope of taking on the race leader.

The deal would be this: give Phuket a proper public transport system by 2015, and the F1 on Phuket could be the pride of all Thailand.

I can't think of another host city for the F1 circuit where the public transport consists of poorly fitted tuk-tuks and taxis and delightful but antiquated two-bench seung taew buses.

Grands Prix are run in sophisticated cities with efficient public transport systems. For decades, successive governments in Bangkok have ignored Phuket's infrastructure needs.

Over the next few days, the whole of Thailand is likely to learn just how far behind Phuket lags compared to other sophisticated international destinations around the world.

As a new minister who wants to priorise tourism safety and security, we wish Khun Somsak every success.

World-class cities with great facilities struggle to cope with the massive responsibilities of shifting crowds of 100,000 or more over several days, of erecting and dismantling the massive team requirements for a GP, and of ensuring a successful bid by organising a proper track.

Phuket, forlorn and forgotten by Bangkok until the government wants something, has about as much chance of staging a GP as a tuk-tuk has of climbing Everest.

Comments

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We already have a Grand Prix Circuit - it's called Thepkassatri Road!

Posted by Mister Ree on June 12, 2013 08:36

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The last Grand Prix in Canada brought 100M$ for a week race plus a good advertising around the world as it is seen by 150M people on TV.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on June 12, 2013 10:18

Editor Comment:

Some GP cities do the sums and struggle to see the benefits. How people watching motorsport on tv translates into tourists is an interesting question. Clearly, the night event works in Singapore. Malaysia also has a GP. It's hard to see any virtue in having a third GP in this region.

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Phuket does not have the infrastructure to host a grand prix and lets face it Come 2015 they will not have it...

Posted by Anonymous on June 12, 2013 11:09

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No Chance...I have been involved in motorsport for years, i went to the 1st, F1 Grand Prixs in Malaysia and Singapore and saw how difficult it was for them....with the corruption, mafia etc in Phuket...NO WAY.

Posted by jondev on June 12, 2013 13:40

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It would be the slowest and most dangerous, for both drivers and spectators. F1 tracks demand virtually flat roads for the super cars to drive safely on. Even when new roads are laid they are far from flat. Most F1 tracks are purpose built e.g. Sapang for Malaysia with superb public transport facilities from an International Airport that dwarfs Phuket's and the capacity to handle the extra visitors at the time of the F1 event. The F1 drivers have a great say in F1 selection as their lives are of obvious paramount interest to them. One look at the current state of roads on Phuket would be enough for them. IMO this is a gimmick to distract attention from the real problems that Phuket faces going forward to a more positive future.

Posted by Alan on June 12, 2013 15:33

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I can only say 555

Posted by kjekje on June 12, 2013 16:03

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I'm not sure Phuket needs more tourists. More likely it needs the right kind of tourists, and that can only be achieved by having the needed infrastructure. Quality over quantity, please.

Posted by Duncan on June 12, 2013 17:06

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What happens when Tuktuk's blockade the course mid-race, saying its unfair that imported cars with foreign drivers are racing around the track and they deserve a share of the purse?

(Yes, that was tongue in cheek.)

Posted by JustSomeGuy on June 13, 2013 01:47

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Good article, agree entirely. No chance.

Posted by Anonymous on June 13, 2013 03:24

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the infrastructure and mass public transport just isnt there,they couldnt host a grand pedal car race, next someone will suggest the olympic games be held there, the pie in the sky just went to outer space on this grand prix suggestion.

Posted by slickmelb on June 18, 2013 07:05


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