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Vietnam Grand Prix on the Cards in the Future

Vietnam Grand Prix on the Cards in the Future

LIberty Media are constantly scouting new locations to host an F1 Grand Prix. Now, Vietnam has appeared as a potential candidate for a slot on the Formula One calendar. Sources suggest that there could be an announcement about a street race in the south-east Asian country in the coming weeks. It is believed that the race is planned for the streets of Vietnam’s capital Hanoi but it has not yet been officially announced so it could still fail to get to the finish line. It is no secret that a plan for a Vietnam Grand Prix is in the works.

In October 2017, it was reported that Vietnam was on F1’s list of potential venues and there were “on-going” talks with officials there. Later, it transpired that F1’s former chief executive Bernie Ecclestone was against a Vietnam Grand Prix. When Chase Carey replaced him in the driving seat at the start of last year, rumours began to surface again.

Vietnam Grand Prix
Former Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone

Ecclestone declined the chance to meet the president of Vietnam and sign a race in the country. Even though Vietnam would have paid an estimated $391.2 million over the ten years of its contract Ecclestone said it would have been a step too far for F1.

He said, “I was approached about having a race in Vietnam. I was offered the opportunity to meet the president about doing a deal for a Grand Prix. I could have done the deal and signed it in August. Everything was arranged for this to happen.”
In 2010, there was a proposition for a track to be built near to Ho Chi Minh City. Unfortunately, it hit a few roadblocks and one reason was Vietnam’s strict rules which prevented locals from betting on sports events. The law was relaxed last year for anyone with a monthly income of more than $440. Vietnam’s first race track opened in 2016 to take advantage of it.
Will there be a Vietnam Grand Prix in the future?
However, the new circuit’s standards are far below F1 specification, known as Grade 1 Homologation. However, it is understood that a foreign group was seeking investment to build it in Hanoi and carried out a feasibility study. Contrary to Ecclestone’s reputation of being driven by money he said he put the brakes on the plan as Vietnam has little connection to auto racing. He said, “It hasn’t got any racing history at all. So I didn’t want to put another race in the same sort of area where we already have very good promoters. And I was criticised for putting the races in Baku and in Russia because they hadn’t got that much racing history.”

It could be said that it would be highly hypocritical if F1 signs a race in Vietnam. A country that even Ecclestone declined due to its lack of auto racing pedigree.

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