Formula One has confirmed Vietnam will host its first grand prix in April 2020, with the race set to be held in the country's capital city Hanoi.
The 5.565km circuit is located 12km west of the city's centre near the My Dinh National Stadium. It will be a street circuit with purpose-built sections and a newly constructed pit and paddock complex.
The circuit is described by Formula One as a "unique hybrid layout" with "a real desire to steer away from humdrum 90-degree road-junction type corners and foster a layout that facilitates wheel-to-wheel racing while retaining a closed-in street feel that makes city race tracks so demanding for drivers".
A layout of the Hermann Tilke-designed track was published by Formula One, which said the opening corners are based on Turns 1 and 2 at the Nurburgring while other sections take inspiration from Monaco, Suzuka and Malaysia's Sepang circuit. There is also a 1.5km straight, which will see cars top out at 335km/h before a heavy braking zone.
FIA race director Charlie Whiting visited the site of the new track last month to approve the promoter's final plans before work got underway. Asked to describe the layout, he said: "It's mainly on the streets, and there's a section which is not yet built. So, it's [currently] an open site where the pit building's going to be built. Part of the track will be built there, which doesn't exist at the moment. But it will become a road, I understand, after that."
The race is backed by Vietnamese conglomerate VinGroup, which specialises in real estate but has recently launched the first Vietnamese car manufacturer VinFast. It plans to use the grand prix to promote VinFast, which plans to build cars based on BMW platforms. The company is controlled by Phạm Nhật Vượng who became Vietnam's first billionaire off the back of VinGroup's success in real estate.
After plans to hold a grand prix in Miami were indefinitely postponed earlier this year, the race in Vietnam is the first to be secured under Liberty Media's ownership of F1. A press release said the announcement "represents Formula One's firm commitment to the Asia region".
F1 CEO Chase Carey added: "We are delighted to announce that Hanoi will host a Formula One Grand Prix. Since we became involved in this sport in 2017, we have talked about developing new destination cities to broaden the appeal of Formula One and the Vietnamese Grand Prix is a realisation of that ambition. We are thrilled to be here in Hanoi, one of the most exciting cities in the world right now with such a rich history and an incredible future ahead of it.
"This is the perfect formula for Grand Prix racing and I look forward to this becoming a real highlight of the F1 calendar. Our Motosport team, working in collaboration with the City of Hanoi and promoter Vingroup, has worked to enable a circuit that will not only test the drivers but also ensure that our fans enjoy the racing spectacle. We are really looking forward to seeing Formula One cars speeding around the streets of this fantastic city from 2020."
Nguyen Viet Quang, Vice Chairman and CEO, Vingroup added: "We are excited to see that our work with Formula One to secure this deal has finally come to fruition. An essential part of this collaboration has been making sure that we not only showcase the city of Hanoi but also deliver an exciting race for Formula One fans in Vietnam and around the world.
"With the mission of 'a better life for Vietnamese people', VinGroup wants to bring this race to Vietnam because of the general benefits to the society such as more jobs will be created, the infrastructure of Hanoi will be upgraded, and other bigger worldwide events will be encouraged to take place in Vietnam. For VinGroup individually, through the F1 racing event, we are going to proclaim the first Vietnamese car manufacturer, VinFast, to millions of audiences in the world. "