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Zak Brown pushes for F1 expansion in Asia

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Zak Brown believes Formula 1 can make 'significant inroads' in Asia, starting with China, a country ripe for a second race says the McLaren boss.

But the American executive would also love to see Thailand appear one day on the F1 calendar as part of an updated 'Asian Tour' grouping key races in the region in addition to current venues Japan, Singapore and China.

"The Grand Prix in Shanghai is already well established, but we should explore the possibility of a race in another major city, such as Beijing, or a street race in a city like Wuxi, a place that’s growing ambitiously and enormously," Brown wrote on a Linkedin Pulse blog.

"I also think the Shanghai Grand Prix, which is held at one of the most impressive and opulent bespoke racetracks in the world, characterises Formula One as being very exclusive and expensive.

"Whereas I feel that a Chinese city race would underscore the new values that we want the sport to inhabit – that it’s for the people, that it has a real energy, that it represents a fantastic way for brands to present themselves, and that it delivers fantastic ROI for sponsor-partners.

The Formula One Group has definitely earmarked Asia as a massive growth area for the sport, having just teamed up with marketing agency Lagardere Sports to help it build strategic partnerships and raise its profile in China.

"I’d personally love to see a race in Bangkok, Thailand," Brown added.

"It’s such an incredible city, it would be a new venue for Formula 1, and I think you could create something truly unique and special, and that really plays to the passion and intensity of the country.

"Could you imagine a street race in Bangkok? I think that would be something really unbelievable."

Brown also suggested that Formula 1 should review the start times of some of its traditional races in order to take into account the sport's Asian audience.

"One of the criticisms I hear from fans in places like China and Japan is that the races are always shown in the middle of the night (if at all), so the sport tends only really to gather a hardcore and dedicated fan base," he said.

"Perhaps we need to look at some of the timings of some of the conventional races, and see where there are opportunities to perhaps tweak the schedules so as to create a window of opportunity for our fans in Asia."

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