Greg Maffei, CEO of Liberty Media, acknowledges the high likelihood of adding another Grand Prix in Southeast Asia or the Far East. Currently, the only Grand Prix in Southeast Asia is held in Singapore, following Malaysia’s decision not to renew its contract. In the Far East, China and Japan host their respective Grand Prix events.

Maffei mentioned three potential host countries: Thailand, South Korea, and Indonesia. Of these, only South Korea has a brief history in the F1 World Championship, but it was a private initiative that ultimately went bankrupt.

These are not the only Asian countries that interest F1. India, where a return is also being considered, and a second Grand Prix in China are on the radar. Both countries have rapidly growing economies and significant market influence, being the two most populous nations in the world. Indonesia is also among the top five most populous countries globally.

Maffei emphasizes the importance of having a local driver, noting that Zhou’s presence has been crucial for China’s interest in F1. However, he adds that this should not be a mandatory condition; the interest in F1 in the USA is not driven by the presence of the Haas team or Logan Sargeant, a relatively unknown driver there, where they have their own stars.

Although the FIA is keen on having a Grand Prix in Africa, the current conditions do not seem favorable.

Expanding Horizons: The Appeal of New Markets

The prospect of expanding into new markets is driven by several factors, primarily economic growth and market potential. Southeast Asia and the Far East have shown remarkable economic progress, making them attractive regions for F1’s expansion. The Grand Prix is not just a race; it’s a significant event that brings in tourism, sponsorships, and global attention.

Thailand, known for its vibrant culture and scenic beauty, has been increasingly hosting international sporting events, making it a strong contender. South Korea, with its advanced infrastructure and previous experience in hosting F1, offers a unique blend of modernity and tradition. Indonesia, with its large population and growing middle class, presents a lucrative market for F1’s brand and sponsors.

Challenges and Considerations

However, bringing a new Grand Prix to these countries involves several challenges. Infrastructure development, regulatory approvals, and logistical arrangements are significant hurdles. Building or upgrading racing circuits to meet F1 standards requires substantial investment. Additionally, securing sponsorships and ensuring local interest are crucial for the success of a new Grand Prix.

Maffei acknowledges these challenges but remains optimistic about the potential benefits. “The expansion into new markets is not just about racing; it’s about creating a global spectacle that resonates with diverse audiences,” he said. “The success of the Singapore Grand Prix is a testament to the potential of the region. We believe that with the right partners and strategic planning, we can replicate this success in other countries.”

The Role of Local Talent

Having a local driver can significantly boost interest and engagement in the sport. Zhou Guanyu’s participation has sparked considerable interest in China, demonstrating the impact of local representation. While having a local driver is beneficial, Maffei insists that it should not be a prerequisite for hosting a Grand Prix. The success of F1 in the USA, driven by the sport’s intrinsic appeal rather than local representation, supports this view.

Global Strategy and Future Prospects

F1’s strategy to expand into new territories aligns with its vision of becoming a truly global sport. By tapping into emerging markets, F1 aims to diversify its audience base and enhance its global footprint. The potential addition of a Grand Prix in Southeast Asia or the Far East is a step towards this goal.

As the discussions and negotiations continue, the motorsport world eagerly awaits the next move. The inclusion of new countries in the F1 calendar will not only add excitement to the championship but also open up new opportunities for fans, sponsors, and the sport as a whole.


The expansion of F1 into Southeast Asia and the Far East represents a strategic move to capitalize on emerging markets with growing economies and passionate fan bases. While challenges remain, the potential rewards are significant. With countries like Thailand, South Korea, and Indonesia showing interest, the future of F1 looks set to embrace new horizons, bringing the thrill of racing to more corners of the globe.