The 2020 Vietnamese Grand Prix
There were plans to organize a Vietnam Grand Prix as far back as 2016. Bernie Ecclestone didn't care much for the idea at the time because, according to him, there were already enough Grands Prix in Asia. After it was announced the Malaysian Grand Prix would not return in 2018, however, there was room for a new Grand Prix in Southeast Asia. Although the race will have a completely different look than F1 fans were used to on the circuit of Sepang.
Just like the Malaysian Grand Prix, the Vietnam Grand Prix will be held on a circuit designed by Hermann Tilke, but on a semi-permanent street circuit located about six miles outside the old city centre of Hanoi. For the long straights, the streets of Hanoi will be used, while the twisty third sector and start/finish are newly constructed. Together, this makes for a circuit of 5,565 kilometres with 22 turns.
Opportunities at the Hanoi Street Circuit
Because the Vietnam Grand Prix is being held for the first time, we cannot yet look back at previous races and make a prediction. However, the conditions during this race will not only be similar to the aforementioned Malaysian Grand Prix, but also to the Singapore Grand Prix, and we do have data on that.
Max Verstappen, for example, almost always does well in tropical conditions. In 2017, he won the last edition of the Malaysian Grand Prix after coming close the year before, and he’s stood on the podium for the last two years in Singapore too.
We also know Sebastian Vettel loves Singapore, which he underlined again in 2019 by taking a surprise win. The very long straights of the Hanoi Street Circuit should also play into the hand of the powerful Ferrari engine.
At almost a mile in length, the Hanoi Street Circuit has one of the longest straights on the Formula 1 calendar. Despite it being a street circuit, engine power will play an important role. Should we expect a Ferrari win, or can Red Bull and Mercedes make up enough ground in the corners?
What does the race weekend of the Vietnamese Grand Prix look like?
The Vietnamese Grand Prix will also take the place on the calendar where the Formula 1 race in Malaysia used to be, which from 2001 to 2015 was always held at the end of March or beginning of April. The Hanoi Grand Prix will start on Friday April 3rd with the free practice sessions, after which qualifying and racing will take place on Saturday the 4th and Sunday April 5th respectively.
What time does the Vietnam Grand Prix start?
The GP at the Hanoi Street Circuit is one of those races where European fans will have to get out of bed early. The Grand Prix just follows the European starting times. This means that the race starts at 14:10 local time. That is 08:10 UK time. As always, the race can be followed live on Sky Sports and/or F1TV in the UK. All free practice sessions and qualifying will be broadcast there as well.