Mercedes AMG’s Valtteri Bottas at the 2017 Formula One Austrian Grand Prix
Formula One could take to the streets of Vietnam. According to a Sunday report from Motorsport.com, sources say an agreement is in place for the country to host its first F1 race in 2020.
Should everything fall into place, plans for Vietnam to host an F1 race will be confirmed and announced before the end of the current season. Liberty Media, which owns the Formula One Group, has been eying the Asian country to host a race for some time and an area about 7 miles west of Hanoi is rumored as the location.
Officials reportedly hashed out a confirmation during this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix and we could see an official Vietnamese announcement next month. F1 race director Charlie Whiting paid a visit to the Hanoi location where the race would be held and said he’s confident the entire facility and course will be finished in time for the 2020 Grand Prix. He said the site is in the advanced design phase and will include current roads and an all-new section built and paved especially for the race. An open site will house the pits and part of the race course.
After the race, the new track will become a public road.
Vietnam’s near confirmation for an F1 race comes after the nation’s first national automaker debuted on the world stage. Vinfast introduced its first two production vehicles at the 2018 Paris motor show based on previous-generation BMWs. The Lux A2.0 and LUX SA2.0 are essentially rebodied BMW 5-Series and X5 vehicles with design courtesy of Pininfarina. Eventually, the company plans to export cars from Vietnam, though initial markets weren’t given at the vehicles’ debut in Paris.
The Vietnamese Grand Prix would come one year before the racing body is set to introduce a next-generation F1 racer in 2021. The first design proposals focus on aerodynamics and allowing for the cars to race together better on-track. Proposals have also included less expensive and louder power units and the idea of some standardized parts.