Though Bernie Ecclestone turned down the offer of holding a Grand Prix in Vietnam, declaring that there were “already too many races in that part of the world” and that “it might be a little bit over the top to have another one”, we reported at the beginning of this year that under the sport’s new owners such a race was likely to get the green light.
While Formula One Management is saying little on the subject, other than commercial boss Sean Bratches admitting in August last year that he was eyeing two additional races in Asia, it is the authorities in Vietnam who have finally confirmed the event.
Earlier today, the Hanoi People’s Committee revealed that details of the Grand Prix, scheduled for early 2020, will be announced next week at a special gala.
“The city of Hanoi managed to conclude the cooperation to be entitled as the official host of a race of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship (from) April 2020,” read the invitation to the gala.
Throughout, the Vietnamese government has made it clear that it would not fund the event, instead the money will come from the private sector.
“The prime minister said if Hanoi hosts a race, the budget should be from the private sector,” said Mai Tien Dung, head of the government office, last month.
Last month, Charlie Whiting revealed that he had visited the proposed sight and confirmed that the track could be ready to host a race in 2020.
“It’s in the advanced stages of design,” he said of the circuit, less than ten miles west of Hanoi. “As far as I’m aware, they’re aiming for a 2020 grand prix, which shouldn’t be a problem based on previous experience.
“It’s an open site where the pit building’s going to be built,” he added. “Part of the track will be built there which doesn’t exist at the moment. But it will become a road, I understand, after that.”
In May, F1 official partner Heineken, hosted a promotional event in Ho Chi Minh City, which saw various F1 activities including a Paddock, Pit stop Challenge and David Coulthard at the wheel of a Red Bull.
News of next week’s official confirmation of the 2020 Grand Prix in Vietnam comes at a time Liberty Media has yet to secure a second race in its own backyard, with Miami on hold until at least 2020, and Silverstone currently due to host the last British Grand Prix next July.