Formula One stars all geared up for Vietnam Grand Prix 2020
Two F1 cars drive at an event to promote Vietnam Grand Prix 2020 in Hanoi, April 20, 2019. Photo courtesy of Vietnam Grand Prix Corporation.
Leading F1 drivers are positive and raring to go at the inaugural Vietnam Grand Prix in Hanoi next year.
At a pre-race press conference for the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix this week, a reporter asked if Formula 1 should continue to expand to destinations which might not have a long history of motor sports, like Vietnam, or should it focus on its traditional heartland in places like Western Europe.
Five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton said, "I think we should keep the historic ones, where we had the biggest following, because that crowd really makes the atmosphere, if you go to the UK for example. We have got to keep those. Losing Germany I think is a bit of a painful one."
"But I think it is good to go to new territories for sure, to expand our reach as a sport. I prefer that they do a street circuit that can be taken down rather than, for example, India where they built that beautiful circuit and we do not get to race there anymore," he added.
Construction of the F1 circuit in Hanoi began last March and is expected to take 12 months. It runs more than 5.5 kilometers long with 22 corners, and will be the fourth to combine both built tracks and city streets, after Monaco, Singapore and Azerbaijan's.
Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo seemed to relish the chance of racing in brand new circuits. "Selfishly, it is nice to go to new destinations. I think we are quite privileged to have this job and be able to see new parts of the world.
"It is sometimes an excuse to go and check out another place, so from that point of view it is actually always exciting for me because I know that I probably would not have travelled to all these places as a holiday destination if F1 did not take me there. I have discovered some pretty awesome places around the world through the calendar."
Ricciardo said he has never been to Vietnam so he is excited to go to the country. "It is a chance to open new fans up to the sport and give a new crowd the opportunity to see what it is like.
"Right now, I do not see the downside of it, not at all."
On November 7, 2018, it was officially announced that Vietnam will be making its Formula 1 debut in April 2020, making it the third Southeast Asian country after Malaysia and Singapore to host the prestigious championship.
Circuit Zandvoort in the Netherlands will also make its long-awaited return to the 2020 F1 calendar, which consists of a record 22 races.
The Formula 1 Vietnam Grand Prix will be held at a track around My Dinh Stadium, around 13 kilometers from downtown Hanoi. The event will be organized by the Vietnamese Motorsports Association (VMA) and promoted by the Vietnam Grand Prix Company (VGPC).
The Hanoi race will be held as a seven-day event, including parades, showcasing of race cars and other events. Streets will be barricaded for around four to five days before the race starts and traffic rerouted.
Tickets for the first Vietnam Grand Prix have now gone on sale. Tickets can be bought online at the race’s official website f1vietnamgp.com, Vingroup's e-commerce site Adayroi or at its VinMart convenience stores in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Entrance prices range from VND700,000 ($30) for one-day general admission to VND96.5 million ($4,150) for a three-day hospitality ticket.