November 2, 2018 / 9:38 AM / a year ago

Vietnam, F1 strike deal to hold Hanoi race in 2020 - sources

HANOI (Reuters) - The Vietnamese government and Formula One organisers have struck a deal to host the first Vietnamese Grand Prix in Hanoi in 2020, three sources with direct knowledge of the event told Reuters.

Details of the race, including the planned construction of a racing circuit on the western edge of the Vietnamese capital would be made public on Nov. 7, the sources told Reuters.

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.

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 an otherwise minor even in international football — a 1-0 victory over Syria in the Asian Games quarter-finals 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.

Reporting by Khanh Vu and James Pearson; Editing by John O'Brien

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