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Indonesia officials "have had discussions with F1"

NEWS STORY
18/08/2021

Officials at the Mandalika International Street Circuit, which is due to host a round of the MotoGP championship in 2022, reveal that they have had talks with F1 with a view to hosting a race.

Although a street circuit, Mandalika, which forms part of a new tourism venture on the island of Lombok, near Bali, is a purpose-built track, albeit comprising streets that are used by the public for much of the year.

Ahead of its debut on the 2022 MotoGP schedule the circuit is due to host a test for the series later this year, most likely in October.

In order to host MotoGP the facility must meet the FIM's Grade A circuit standard, however, according to the Indonesian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), the venue was designed with the FIA's Grade 1 standard, which is required to host F1, also in mind.

"Our circuit can be graded FIA A-grade, which would accommodate F1 and we have had discussions with F1 on Lombok," says Ricky Baheramsjah, CEO of the Mandalika Grand Prix Association.

"They don't like the gravel traps that we need for MotoGP, but that's a minor issue," he continues, "because under the gravel is just asphalt, so it can be shifted out.

"We may need a few more facilities," he admits, "more five-star hotels, as MotoGP is a very broad market; people on scooters and people in Bentleys. Ticket pricing is also relatively more affordable for MotoGP than it is for F1.

"So, a destination like Lombok would be challenging for F1, but once Mandalika is developed a bit more, then there is a fantastic opportunity for F1 should it want to explore it. For now though, we are fully focused on the races we have lined up.

"Lombok is really an exciting new destination," he adds. "ITDC is slowly but surely positioning Lombok as a ‘sports entertainment' destination and we would love to have events such as marathons and Ironman races in the future; events that really incorporate some entertainment aspects as well.

"There is maybe also an opportunity to convert our future pit building into an e-sports venue because the combination of e-sports and the beach is fantastic as a concept, right?

"It's unique in South East Asia, I think; I'm not sure there is anywhere else in our part of the world that does that, so we are speaking to the rights holder of e-sports MotoGP.

"Imagine a racing circuit, next to a golf course, next to a beach, and in time we'll have a branded theme park too, so there are many opportunities.

"We obviously have our own CSR (corporate social responsibility) programme, but we also recently partnered with Invest Islands whose foundation works with the local communities of Lombok, to improve education, the environment, equality, and healthcare.

"We believe together we can create something special that will make a genuine positive difference to the lives of the local people on the island. And we're excited to do exactly that."

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1. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 23/08/2021 19:30

"I miss Sepang."

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