Vietnam Grand Prix chance looks all over with street track left abandoned

Jamie Woodhouse
The Hanoi Circuit being built. Vietnam, February 2020.

A picture from a grandstand as the Hanoi Circuit is being built. Vietnam, February 2020.

With the Hanoi track abandoned and plans for the Vietnam Grand Prix at a standstill, this looks like being the event that never was.

The interest in Formula 1 and demand to host a grands prix has perhaps never been higher, so it has been no surprise over recent years to see several new events join the calendar, plus the return of iconic venues from F1’s past like Imola and Zandvoort.

As for the new territories, we saw the first Miami Grand Prix in 2022, while the debut of the Las Vegas Grand Prix in 2023 will take us up to three rounds in the United States.

A Saudi Arabian GP has also joined the scene, first held in 2021 and now an annual stop on the calendar, while Qatar returns from 2023 on a 10-year deal, having played host to Formula 1 action for the first time in 2021.

Speaking of 10-year deals, there was another nation which previously signed a contract of that length to join the Formula 1 scene, that being Vietnam.

An idea previously explored by Bernie Ecclestone and then revived by Liberty Media, a deal was signed in 2018 with Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest private conglomerate, to foot the yearly bill for the Vietnam Grand Prix of $60m, as reported by AFP.

However, the event never made its debut in 2020 as intended, due to the global pandemic, while in 2021 it was dropped from the calendar when Hanoi’s city mayor Nguyen Duc Chung was arrested on corruption charges, unrelated to the Vietnam GP, and later jailed.

He was a key supporter of the Vietnam Grand Prix, with the future of the event now reportedly very bleak.

“Without Chung, the future of the race in Hanoi is gloomy,” an anonymous source close to the race told AFP in 2020.

AFP also note that city authorities have told state media that there will be no Vietnam Grand Prix between 2022 and 2029, though these authorities refused to confirm this to AFP. The event is indeed absent again from the 2023 calendar.

The Hanoi Circuit then now lays abandoned. The spectator stands have been removed and the roads picked out to form part of this circuit are busy with vehicular activity.

The Vietnam Grand Prix then will remain on the shelf perhaps permanently.

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