Phuket could be in line to host the first grand prix in Thailand after it was confirmed that Bangkok will not be able to welcome Formula One in 2015.
Bernie Ecclestone has been a big advocate for taking Formula One to Thailand, but a proposed route around the streets of Bangkok met widespread criticism due to its lack of challenging corners or characteristics. Instead, Thailand’s sports’ minister Somask Pureesrisrak has revealed to the Bangkok Post that efforts are being made to take F1 to Phuket.
“I can confirm that we cannot hold a grand prix on Ratchadamnoen Avenue [in Bangkok],” the sports’ minister explained. “The law, which took effect last month, prohibits a car racing event in inner Bangkok.
“Phuket should be an ideal venue which meets our target to promote tourism. We still have time to prepare for the race.”
Therefore, Formula One could be set to welcome a 22nd race onto the calendar in 2015, although it is likely that the teams will push to reduce this number to 20 in order to give their personnel time to rest between races and in the off-season.
2014 is already poised to become the busiest season yet, with almost 30 F1 events planned (21 races, 4 pre-season tests, 4 in-season tests), and the addition of the Thailand GP will only add to this congestion.
Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo has dominated all weekend long at the Monaco Grand Prix, leading every single practice session prior to qualifying.
And qualifying was more of the same for the Australian driver, whose quick lap in Q3 came in at 1:10.810, a new track record, to take the pole by more than two tenths of a second over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Meanwhile, Ricciardo’s teammate Max Verstappen endured a much more difficult day, which started with a hard crash in FP3.
Verstappen’s Red Bull RB14 suffered extensive damage to the right side, and even more damage was later found in the car’s gearbox. Such repairs ultimately proved too time consuming, and Verstappen will start Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix from last.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton filled out the top three by qualifying third, with Ferrari and Mercedes also taking the fourth and fifth spots on the grid, with Kimi Raikkonen in fourth and Valtteri Bottas in fifth.
Force India’s Esteban Ocon, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, and Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr. take up spots six, seven, and eight on the grid. Sergio Perez made it two Force Indias in Q3, qualifying ninth, while Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly qualified tenth.
Full qualifying results are below. Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix kicks off at 9:00 a.m. ET.