Formula One Announces 2020 Vietnamese Grand Prix
When Liberty Media took over ownership of Formula One, there was a lot of talk about a new race in Miami, New York, or Las Vegas. Instead, the first new race to be announced under Liberty Media’s ownership is the Vietnamese Grand Prix.
The race will take place in the City of Hanoi, which has signed a multi-year deal starting in 2020. The street circuit will be 3.46 miles and features a long 0.93-mile straight with expected speeds of around 208 mph. Two shorter straights will also provide additional overtaking opportunities.
There will be 22 turns, many of which are derived from famous sections of other circuits. Turns 1 and 2, for instance, are modeled after that the Nürburgring’s first sector, while turns 12 to 15 are inspired by the uphill section at Monaco and turns 16 to 19 by the iconic esses at Suzuka. Finally, turns 20 to 22 are reminiscent of the Sepang circuit in Malaysia, now no longer on the calendar.
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Those familiar with those circuits and with the current state of overtaking in Formula One may at this point be raising some eyebrows. None of the corners the Hanoi circuit uses for inspiration are known for facilitating overtaking (in fact, usually the opposite).
What’s more, street circuits tend to be famous for their lack of interesting passing opportunities. The new circuit in Baku, for instance, is mainly 90-degree corners where nobody passes and then a massive straight where cars fly past with slipstream and DRS assistance.
The decision to host a new Grand Prix in Vietnam is also curious. The country does not boast a large motorsport following. One can only hope that Liberty Media will lower the cost of the currently exorbitantly expensive ticket prices, else we end up with yet another Korean Grand Prix.
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