Vietnam Grand Prix Set To Be Announced?

Philip Boeckman Formula One Vietnam

In a move that somewhat contradicts their insistence that Formula 1 be bought back to its European heartlands, Liberty Media are reportedly very close to announcing a new addition to the F1 calendar: a Vietnamese Grand Prix.

So the story goes, Bernie Ecclestone, during the burning embers of his long reign, rejected the chance to add Vietnam to the racing calendar. In the Summer of 2016, Bernie met with the Vietnamese President and was presented with a Grand Prix proposal worth almost $400m.

Despite bringing Formula One to the likes of Azerbaijan, Bahrain and Russia - nations with limited racing heritage and (very) questionable human rights records - Ecclestone felt that Vietnam was a step too far. 

"I was approached about having a race in Vietnam. I was offered the opportunity to meet the president about doing a deal for a Grand Prix. I could have done the deal and signed it in August. Everything was arranged for this to happen.

It hasn't got any racing history at all. So I didn't want to put another race in the same sort of area where we already have very good promoters. And I was criticised for putting the races in Baku and in Russia because they hadn't got that much racing history."

Despite the rare show of foresight by the former supremo, Liberty Media are seemingly intent on resurrecting the deal. 

The vision presented to Liberty is for a Hanoi street race that would rival Singapore's night race. Liberty are reportedly huge fans of street races in large cities; such Grand Prix delivers F1 right into the laps of large populations, ensuring huge audiences, various week-long events and a 'festival'-like atmosphere. 

Liberty's initial vision was for more racing in North America and a return to the classic tracks of Europe; perhaps they have woken up and smelt the coffee when it comes to extracting astonishing suitcases of cash from nations desperate to join the glitz and glamour that is Club Formula One.

Philip Boeckman

Huge fan of @F1 and Motor Racing in general. I blog about anything and everything from the world of Formula 1