Formula One is to hold its first Vietnamese Grand Prix with a race on a street circuit in Hanoi in 2020. The meeting is the first new event added to the calendar since Liberty media took over the sport in 2017. The multi-year deal has been concluded with the promoter Vingroup, a business whose interests include the car manufacturer Vinfast.
The race will take place on a 3.458-mile track, 12km west of the city centre. It will use existing streets with a purpose built pit area. Building has yet to begin but the FIA race director Charlie Whiting has visited the proposed area and was happy with the promoter’s plans.
The meeting ties in with Liberty’s stated aim to expand the sport into new markets and make race weekend’s grand events in what they describe as destination cities.
Chase Carey, the chairman and chief executive, said: “Since we became involved in this sport in 2017, we have talked about developing new destination cities to broaden the appeal of Formula 1 and the Vietnamese Grand Prix is a realisation of that ambition.”
Details of the circuit have been released by F1, showing the track in a suburb of Hanoi. It features a straight nearly one mile long and has borrowed elements from other circuits: Turns one and two from the opening corners of the Nurburgring; turns 12 to 15 similar to the climb from Sainte Devote at Monaco and the 16-19, the esses at Suzuka.
This season there are 21 races on the calendar. Should they all remain and Liberty’s proposed meeting in Miami be also added in 2020, it would rise to 23. However, the teams have already been clear in their opposition to the calendar growing much further. There is no indication as yet as to whether other races may be dropped in 2020.
Vingroup is one of the largest private businesses in Vietnam, based primarily on property but with a huge range of interests including retail shopping, healthcare, and amusement parks. It is the owner of the Vinfast car manufacturer that unveiled its first production models at the Paris motor show this year and are expected to be in production in 2019.
The Vingroup vice chairman and CEO Nguyen Viet Quang believed the race would prove beneficial to the country as a whole. “With the mission of ‘a better life for Vietnamese people’, VinGroup wants to bring this race to Vietnam because of the general benefits to the society,” he said. “More jobs will be created, the infrastructure of Hanoi will be upgraded, and other bigger worldwide events will be encouraged to take place in Vietnam.”