While in no way wanting to pour cold water on FOM’s confirmation today that Vietnam will host a round of the Formula One World Championship, just as we predicted almost a year ago, there are elements surrounding the announcement that are somewhat worrying.
To listen to FOM today, the race in South-East Asia is another vital addition to an a burgeoning market for the sport, someone clearly having failed to remind Carey and the gang about India and South Korea, and let’s not forget Malaysia, which finally gave up F1 last year in favour of two-wheels.
It remains to be seen whether the hoped for event in Miami will join Vietnam on the 2020 calendar, and indeed whether it will really be the loss of the British round that will make way for them.
Speaking in the wake of today’s announcement, Carey, clearly enthused by the deal, set-out his vision for the future of the sport.
“We want to provide opportunities for drivers of different nationalities from around the world,” he told AFP. “We’d love to have a Chinese driver, an American driver, a female driver, a Vietnamese driver, all be part of our future.
“We’d love nothing better than to have races around the world,” he continued, “to have teams and drivers from around the world.
“Asia is certainly important as a growth engine of the world and it will just become an increasingly important part of the world,” insisted the American. “Being in Asia is certainly a cornerstone to our long-term growth strategy. As much as anything, it’s important to have a long-term perspective, I think in the past there was a bit of a short-term view towards many of the things we did.”
However, asked where Vietnam will succeed where Korea, India and Maayasia failed, the response wasn’t entirely convincing.
“The most important aspect of maximizing value and the opportunity here is to make sure we have a great event,” he said.
Good luck with that, Chase.