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Report: F1 applies for trademark for possible PH race

Liberty Media's trademark application for a possible F1 race in the Philippines came at a time when a five-kilometer MotoGP-specific racetrack is currently being built at the Pradera Verde Complex in Pampanga. Ross Del Rosario/Wazzup Pilipinas (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—If plans push through, a Formula 1 race could happen in the Philippines very soon.

In a report by Christian Sylt of British news site The Independent early Saturday (Philippine Time), Liberty Media, which owns the commercial rights for the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, sent a trademark application for the names "Philippine Grand Prix" and "Manila Grand Prix" to the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines in Taguig on Jan. 7.

The said move means that Liberty Media is making a bold push of holding an F1 race in a country not really known for mainstream motorsports.

The trademark application came at an interesting time as F1 is looking to race in more cities.

Recently, Liberty Media applied for trademarks to the names "Finnish Grand Prix" and the Formula Grand Prix of Miami", hinting that the company is considering Helsinki and Miami as future race venues.

In fact, a race in Miami was supposed to be part of this year's F1 season, but stern opposition from locals derailed the said plan, implying that a mere trademark application does not guarantee a future F1 race.

However, the "Philippine Grand Prix" and the "Manila Grand Prix" applications also mean that Liberty Media is making a bigger push in Southeast Asia as it is set for an F1 debut in Vietnam next year.

Also, the applications came just as the construction of the new Pradera Verde Racing Circuit in Lubao is ongoing.

However, while the said racetrack, set for a 2021 completion, is designed by renowned F1 track architect Hermann Tilke, the five-kilometer circuit is more tailor-made for a MotoGP race. Thus, the construction needs a major overhaul to meet the specifications for an F1 racetrack, which may prompt Pradera Verde to delay the opening.

If the construction of the Pradera Verde track remains as initially planned, a street race around Metro Manila could happen instead if the "Manila Grand Prix" pushes through.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno