Vietnam gives green light to F1 race in Hanoi

HANOI (Reuters) - The Vietnamese government has said it supports the idea of staging a Formula One race on the streets of the capital Hanoi.

FILE PHOTO - Formula One F1 - Hungarian Grand Prix - Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary - July 29, 2018 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton leads at the start of the race REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

Formula One chief executive officer Chase Carey said in June he was excited by the possibility of taking the sport to the Southeast Asian country, adding that Formula One had been discussing the idea of staging a street race in Hanoi with Vietnamese authorities.

“All (government) ministries and agencies support the idea to create a new attraction for Hanoi,” Mai Tien Dung, chief of the government office, said late Thursday in a statement.

Dung did not say when a final deal would be signed with Formula One, or when the first race might be held.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had told Hanoi not to use state budget for building infrastructure for the race, but to invite investment from businesses, Dung added.

“Hanoi authorities have asked people living in the planned area for their opinions about holding the race and they have all shown their support, to attract tourists,” Dung said in the statement.

Asked by Reuters at the Italian Grand Prix about the Vietnamese statement, Carey said it was premature to talk about races that might or might not happen.

“We certainly haven’t announced anything,” he said in Monza. “We are engaged in conversations with a number of places today that don’t have races...and some places that we think would be truly exciting and unique potential additions to the calendar.

“But I think we’ll address them when we get to a place to announce them.”

Miami is also due to stage a race for the first time in 2020 while a return to South Africa regularly comes up in media speculation as another possibility.

Reporting by Khanh Vu/Alan Baldwin; Editing by Peter Rutherford/Toby Davis