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Thailand now aiming for F1 race in 2015

(Reuters) - Thailand expects to host a floodlit Formula One Grand Prix in Bangkok in 2015 after plans were pushed back a year, the governor of the national sports authority said on Friday.

"An F1 race is likely to take place here in early 2015 instead of in 2014 in our initial plan," Kanokphand Chulakasem told the Bangkok Post newspaper.

The 2014 season is due to see two new races, at Sochi in Russia and at a New Jersey street circuit, on a calendar which already has a record 20 rounds, but Thailand would be a novelty for the year after.

Bangkok's Rajamangala stadium recently hosted the annual Race of Champions event with Red Bull's triple world champion Sebastian Vettel teaming up with Michael Schumacher to win the team title for Germany.

The paper's website quoted Red Bull's Michael de Santiesteban, representative of the energy drink's Thai co-owner Chalerm Yoovidhya, as saying talks with Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone were going well.

"It is likely to be held in Bangkok. With Thailand on the calendar, a current race is likely to be removed," he said.

Chulakasem met Ecclestone at this year's Singapore Grand Prix in September and said then that there was an agreement in principle for a race in 2014.

Tourism and sports minister Chumpol Silpa-archa said at the same time that the government would bear 60 percent of the total cost and the rest would come from private companies.

Red Bull's British-based Formula One team have won both championships for the past three years and are expected to back the Thai race.

Southeast Asia already has two races, in Malaysia and the night-time Singapore Grand Prix.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Peter Rutherford)

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