FIA president Jean Todt has kicked off the construction work on a new Formula 1 circuit in Vietnam that will host its inaugural race in 2020.
Todt was present at a ceremony to lay the foundation stone of the circuit in Hanoi, the Vietnamese capital, on Wednesday. The street circuit is scheduled to host its first race in April of next year and will be the first new addition to the calendar since Liberty Media’s purchase of F1 was completed at the start of 2017.
“This major event will give to Vietnam — and particularly its capital — an international exposure,” Todt is quoted as saying by Reuters, while adding he is hopeful the new race will help initiate a fresh interest in racing in the country.
“It’s fantastic for the development of motorsport in Vietnam and in the region … I really hope that soon here will also be facilities to host kart racing, drifting … You have young people, talented with a passion of motorsports, that’s why I think it’s very important to involve very quickly a new category of motorsport.”
The race effectively replaces the Malaysian Grand Prix in the region after it dropped off the calendar at the end of 2017, and comes with the financial backing of Vietnam’s biggest private conglomerate, VinGroup.
“F1 is always considered the king of all races,” VinGroup deputy chairman Nguyen Viet Quang said. “We have designed a challenging street circuit imprinted with Vietnamese identity and architecture.
“(The circuit will provide) racers the opportunity to show off their speed as on professional tracks together with their super skills in difficult turns of the street circuit.”
The 5.565-kilometer/3.458-mile circuit — which takes inspiration from various sections of other tracks including Suzuka, Monaco, the Nurburgring and Sepang — will utilize both existing streets and a number of roads that are yet to be built, and will be located around eight miles from the city center in Hanoi.