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GP Week : Issue 172
w BRIEFLY » Following last week’s news that there was a warrant out for his arrest, Force India team principal Vijay Mallya can rest a little easier in the run-up to next week’s Indian Grand Prix with confirmation that the case against him has been withdrawn. Mallya was issued with a non-bailable warrant following the bouncing of several cheques made out to airport owners GMR. “The case has been withdrawn,” GMR lawyer J.B . Chenna Keshava Rao told the Press Trust of India. “The matter has been settled by our client... They asked us to withdraw the case after which we informed the court about withdrawal of the case which has been agreed upon.” » Engine builder and F1 supplier Cosworth is the latest motorsport firm to have fallen victim to the financial crisis. News emerged this week that the Northampton-based company was up for sale. The sale comes after hopes of a public flotation were dashed – despite mooting the idea 18 months ago, Cosworth’s IPO has been on the backburner, and the company’s financial situation is no longer sustainable. “We have been paused for the last 18 months and the board has decided that we cannot wait any longer otherwise we risk losing momentum,” Tim Routsis, Cosworth chief executive, told The Times. As GPWEEK reported last month, Cosworth is still pursuing a 2014 engine programme, and is contracted to supply Marussia with engines and KERS for 2013. F1 >>> NEWS The prospect of a Thai Grand Prix gained traction this week with the news that there was an agreement in principle in place to hold a Formula One race in Bangkok. Sixty percent of the event’s funding will come from the government, with the remaining forty percent sought from private investors, widely believed to include Red Bull. According to Kanokphand Chulakasem, governor of the Sports Authority of Thailand, “Formula One has decided to include Thailand in its 2014 season calendar,” with a race slated for November. But the 2013 Formula One calendar has yet to be confirmed by the World Motor Sport Council – ratification is an annual process, scheduled to take place each December. While discussions about the 2014 calendar are almost certainly under way, it is unlikely that a grand prix without a signed contract will have been allocated even a provisional date. Given that the past few years have seen a certain stability to the calendar, even with the addition of new venues, it seems unlikely that Thailand would supplant the existing November races of Abu Dhabi, Austin, and Brazil. Not only do new events not form part of a back- to-back in their first season, so that there are no concerns governing the import and export of freight, but Thailand does not make a logical geographic twin for any of the aforementioned events. Should Thailand make it onto the calendar, it is far more likely to find a place towards the beginning of the season, most likely in the three-week break between Malaysia and China. While there are those who feel the notion of a grand prix in Thailand to be somewhat far-fetched, it is worth remembering that the Southeast Asian country will be home to this year’s Race of Champions, a suitable litmus test for those keen to measure the local population’s level of interest in motorsport. The link between Thailand and Dietrich Mateschitz, owner of two of the grid’s 12 teams, should also be taken into consideration. The Red Bull billionaire founded his drinks empire after discovering Krating Daeng during a sales trip to Bangkok in the 1980s. Forty-nine percent of the Red Bull drinks company is owned by Mateschitz, with the remaining 51 percent in the control of the Thai descendants of Chaleo Yoovidhya, the drink’s original creator. Yoovidhya died earlier this year. BANGKOK GP? STILL SOME LOOSE ENDS TO THAI UP 7 GPWEEK.com // 7 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: