Formula E CEO ‘open’ to both Thailand and Malaysia races

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Formula E CEO Jeff Dodds has revealed that the sport would be “open” to both Thailand and Malaysia hosting races in the future, despite concerns by the latter that they could miss out.

Thailand’s interest in Formula E was expressed by the nation’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on social media last week, following a positive breakfast with Dodds in Paris.

The Prime Minister even shared on X (formerly Twitter) that Formula E executives will be traveling to the northern city of Chiang Mai this week to to investigate whether hosting a race is possible.

Thailand are very keen on hosting Formula E following a recent boom of EV technology in the country. 40% of the cars ordered in the country last year were EVs, in what is a major shift in the Southeast Asian nation.

However, Dodds’ “fantastic” breakfast with the Thai Prime Minister resulted in Malaysia raising concerns in national media, that they could miss out on hosting the all-electric series to Thailand. According to Free Malaysia Today, the Malaysian government is yet to respond to an offer from Formula E, to host the season finale in Kuala Lumpur until 2030.

Despite Malaysia’s fears of missing out, Dodds told RacingNews365 during the São Paulo E-Prix that the championship is open to both countries and multiple races in Southeast Asia.

‘No reason why we wouldn’t’ have both

“First of all, I had that breakfast with the Prime Minister of Thailand,” began Dodds. “I saw there was an article I think, was the front page of a Thai Magazine talked about him being the salesman, I have to say we had a fantastic breakfast.

‘He is incredibly energetic and incredibly focused on building economic impetus into the country. So we had a fabulous breakfast, and he said it, not me, they’re very interested in bringing the series to Thailand.

“Partly because when the show turns up, it’s just a huge entertainment product, partly because we create economic value where we can race. And partly because they’re very focused on driving sustainable road choices in Thailand, and actually have really good growth in that space.

“So we’re a really good fit. Malaysia are also talking to us, I think we can say with some confidence, we would be open to having more than one race in Southeast Asia. In fact, the beauty of having more than one race from a sustainability point of view, having races within the similar geography cuts down on the travel and the way we travel around the world.

“So there’s no reason why we wouldn’t have more than one race in Southeast Asia. But you’re right, it’s just fantastic to be having productive conversations with countries who see the value of us showing up.”

‘Inclusive, not exclusive’

As things stand, Thailand in particular is right at the beginning of the process of hosting a Formula E race, with the logistics yet to be seriously investigated. For now, Formula E are simply holding discussions with Thailand and Malaysia.

However, if both races were to materialise and be added to the calendar in the future, would they simply host a one-off event or become a regular venue?

“I think the answer to that is we don’t know, because we’re not at that point,” Dodds conceded. “I think I can say with some confidence on behalf of Alberto [Longo] and I, we’re a relationship business.

“So when I said earlier, we’re inclusive, not exclusive. Our preference would always be to have longer term relationships, because one we learn a lot. When we turn up in a city it takes to the second or third race, to really understand the logistics.

“And also you want to build a fanbase in the market with this, with the media broadcaster or whether it’s people coming to physically watch the race, and it takes a little bit of time for them to understand how it works, where you are in the time of year you’re racing. So if it can be done, we’d always prefer longer term relationships.”

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