Vietnam Grand Prix to join F1 calendar in 2020

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The Vietnam Grand Prix is to join the Formula 1 calendar in 2020, with a race taking place on the streets of capital city Hanoi.

The addition of a race on the streets of Vietnam’s capital was first mooted back in October 2017, and has now been officially confirmed by Liberty Media. After the setback of the Miami Grand Prix deal falling to materialise earlier this year, it’s the first new destination to be added to the calendar since Liberty Media took over the ownership of Formula 1. It’s believed that Bernie Ecclestone had previously halted plans for a Vietnam Grand Prix just before he was removed from his role as F1 boss.

Hanoi has been the capital of Vietnam since 1976, following North Vietnam’s victory in the Vietnam War. The city is typified by historic architecture and an abundance of culture, mixing both ancient and modern. Vietnam is home to 95 million people, making it the world’s fifteenth most-populous country. 7.5 million people live in Hanoi itself, making it the country’s second most populated city.

Charlie Whiting visited the location of the new track before the Japanese Grand Prix and gave the first confirmation that the site of the new event had been identified. The street track, which will use both existing and purpose-built roads, has been designed by Hermann Tilke.

The 22-turn circuit will provide fans an opportunity to see the cars racing at high speeds on Hanoi’s streets, on a circuit which takes inspiration from Suzuka, the Nurburgring and other iconic tracks. Top speeds are expected to reach 330km/h on the 1.5km straight, while drivers will lap the track at an average of just over 200km/h. 

Vietnam: did you know?

  • Lizard fishing is a popular hobby across Vietnam. 
  • ‘Hanoi’ translates as ‘inside (the) river’. The city is built on the banks of the Red River and boasts twenty rivers and lakes in and around the area. 
  • Pho is a popular street food in Vietnam. The dish is a soup, which consists of rice noodles, herbs, and meat. Hanoi is said to have the best pho anywhere in the world!
  • The streets of the capital can be quite hectic, with 80% of road users in Hanoi travelling by motorcycle.
  • A lot of buildings in Vietnam are tall and narrow. This is because of property tax, which used to be based on the width of a building. Buildings were made narrower so the owner would pay less tax. 
  • Of the 3 000 000 tons of cashew nuts produced in the world in 2016, over a third of that total was produced in Vietnam. 

F1’s history in Asia 

Formula 1’s venture into Asia first began with the addition of the Japanese Grand Prix at the Fuji Speedway in 1976. The race was run there twice before a nine year absence which was ended by the addition of Suzuka to the calendar in 1987. In 1994 and 1995 a further race in Japan was added as the Aida circuit hosted the Pacific Grand Prix. Malaysia and China were the next two Asian countries to join the calendar in 1999 and 2004 respectively, while Singapore joined in 2008. With the new multiyear deal announced for the race in Vietnam, organisers will be hoping the race is a success – unlike the now-defunct Grands Prix once held in India, South Korea and Turkey.

The Vietnam Grand Prix will be the third race in a south-east Asian nation after China and Singapore. The inaugural race will take place in April 2020 and is likely to be a back-to-back event with the Chinese Grand Prix. Organizers will have been keen to avoid a race between May and August in order to dodge the typically hot, humid and often wet conditions of the summer season.

Chase Carey will attend a special launch ceremony with the event promoter, Vingroup, at the Hanoi Citadel. Ahead of this, Carey highlighted the area’s rich culture and the circuit’s potential to deliver exciting racing:

“We are thrilled to be here in Hanoi, one of the most exciting cities in the world right now with such a rich history and an incredible future ahead of it. This is the perfect formula for Grand Prix racing and I look forward to this becoming a real highlight of the F1 calendar. Our Motorsport team, working in collaboration with the City of Hanoi and promoter Vingroup, has worked to enable a circuit that will not only test the drivers but also ensure that our fans enjoy the racing spectacle. We are really looking forward to seeing Formula 1 cars speeding around the streets of this fantastic city from 2020.”

What do you think of the proposed Vietnamese Grand Prix? Do you plan to attend the Hanoi race in the future? Leave a comment below!

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About the Author ()

Nicky Haldenby is a Formula One writer from Scarborough, England. Having grown up with F1 often on the TV on Sunday afternoons, Nicky has been following the sport avidly since 2006. After graduating from University in 2015 with a First Class degree in English Language and Literature, he founded his own F1 website and now regularly writes articles about both the sport's history and current affairs.

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