Is it possible for the Philippines to host a Formula 1 race?

We asked an expert in the subject
by Vernon B. Sarne | Apr 13, 2012

We got a tip recently that plans are afoot for a possible Formula 1 race in Manila in 2014. Our source swore it was a solid tip. Although feeling incredulous, we posted the info on our Facebook page. As expected, even the mere suggestion that there could soon be a Manila Grand Prix was met with much skepticism and even ridicule.

"I don't think so," posted Poch Edward Zamora. "No facilities, no money, no F1-standard racetrack, no viable commercial return for this event. Wishful thinking for all of us. Bringing F1 here is very different from bringing a bunch of NBA guys to play at the Smart Araneta Coliseum."

While we sort of agree with him, we also harbor a sincere wish that an F1 race in Manila could one day become a reality. Is it really impossible? We asked somebody who's knowledgeable about the sport: William Herrera, the owner of Red Rock Travel, a travel agency that specializes in Formula 1 tour packages.

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"It can be done," Herrera told us. "Somebody like Manny Pangilinan can make it happen. The problem is not the funding needed to stage a Formula 1 race here."

What, then, is the problem?

"The problem that I see here," explained Herrera, "is that there are now already 20 races on the F1 calendar. A Manila race would mean bumping off one of the existing legs, because F1 teams are now already complaining about the number of races that they need to participate in. That means a lot of travel time for the crew members."

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Good point. And there's another issue.

"F1 already has races in Singapore and Malaysia," Herrera pointed out. "And as we speak, Thailand has already lodged a formal bid to host an F1 race. That's a lot of races to be held in Southeast Asia alone."

So there. A Formula 1 race in the Philippines is possible from a logistics standpoint. The real issue is whether the current race calendar can still accommodate it.

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