Analysing the boom of the Asian market

Analysing the boom of the Asian market

Although not welcome by everybody, new races in countries like India or Korea are actually helping Formula 1. Edd Straw analyses the boom of the Asian market

The first time the Formula 1 World Championship pitched up in Malaysia in 1999, it was setting foot in a far-off outpost of what was then very much a eurocentric series. That year, 11 out of 16 races were staged in the "old world" of Europe and this was the first time that F1 had visited this part of the world save for the well-established races in Japan and Australia, two countries that should be regarded as geopolitically distinct.

Sunday's race will be the 12th world championship Malaysian Grand Prix (although the race can trace its history back to 1962, when it was first held on the Thomson Road circuit in Singapore that was then part of the Federation of Malaysia), and although it still has the feel of a "new" race it is now only the eighth youngest on the calendar. Since that first Malaysian Grand Prix, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi in the Middle East, plus Singapore, Turkey China and, soon, South Korea and India have come into F1. With fewer than 50% of the races now staged in F1's European heartland, the sport's geographic fulcrum has shifted east.

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