Hanoi, November 2: The Vietnamese government and Formula One organisers have reportedly struck a deal to host the first Vietnamese Grand Prix in Hanoi in 2020, three sources with direct knowledge of the event told Reuters.
The details of the race, including the planned construction of a racing circuit on the western edge of the Vietnamese capital Hanoi, will be unveiled at a gala on November 7, the Hanoi People's Committee was quoted as saying by sources.
Officials had originally considered hosting the race around Hanoi's scenic Hoan Kiem lake near the bustling Old Quarter, but decided instead on a route near the national stadium, where the roads are wider.
Vietnam will host a #F1 Grand Prix in April 2020, becoming the third Southeast Asian nation to welcome top-flight racing as the franchise seeks to move into new markets.https://t.co/HVS6lQNmH8 pic.twitter.com/yaQU55NeQW— AFP Sport (@AFP_Sport) November 1, 2018
Both Vietnam and the sport's former commercial supremo, Bernie Ecclestone, have said that a race looked likely, but no deal has been officially announced.
Vietnam is a growing market for sponsors such as brewer Heineken and would be a fifth Asian race on the calendar, making up for the departure of Malaysia.
It may be recalled that last year Malaysia said it would cancel the F1 races that it has hosted since 1999, saying the loss-making event had been hard hit by competition from neighbouring Singapore.
Formula One is not yet popular in Vietnam, although sporting events or competitions in which the national team does even marginally well are widely watched, and passionately celebrated.
In scenes reminiscent of a revolution, thousands of people took to the streets of Hanoi in August to celebrate the team's 1-0 victory over Syria in the Asian Games quarterfinals in Indonesia.
The news also follows the launch of Vietnam's first homegrown car brand, Vinfast, at the Paris Motor Show last month.
A unit of Vietnam's largest conglomerate Vingroup JSC, VinFast is set to become the country's first fully-fledged domestic car manufacturer when its first production models built under its own badge hit the streets next August.
(With inputs from Agencies).