The track design for a potential grand prix in Vietnam in 2020 is “in the advanced stages,” according to FIA Formula 1 race director Charlie Whiting.
The possibility of a race in Hanoi has been rumored for the past 18 months, but no new venue has been added to the F1 calendar since Liberty Media acquired the sport at the start of 2017. Whiting visited Vietnam on the way to the Japanese Grand Prix and says plans are progressing for a location some eight miles to the west of the center of the Vietnamese capital.
“There’s no actual progress on building the track but the site’s been identified,” Whiting said. “It’s in the advanced stages of design. I think, 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 mainly on the streets and there’s a section which is not yet built. So, it’s an open site where the pit building’s going to be built. 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.”
A race in Vietnam would increase the number of races in Asia following the loss of the Malaysian Grand Prix, which dropped off the calendar this year. F1 sponsor Heineken is expected to be the title sponsor of the race should it go ahead.
Whiting likened the Vietnam plan to the intentions with a new circuit in Mokpo that was built for the Korean Grand Prix in 2010.
“Yes, I suppose it was, because half of that was supposed to be a permanent track and the rest was supposed to be something else, but as you know it didn’t quite work out.”
As well as Vietnam, Liberty Media still hopes to finalize a contract to host a grand prix in Miami in 2020, having delayed its planned inclusion on the calendar by a year.