The city had to debut in the championship in 2020but the first Vietnam Grand Prix was canceled due to the covid-19 pandemic and has not reappeared on the calendar since then.
On the circuit, the stands for the public have been removed and most of the route is deserted, except for a few cyclists who slip in to pedal in that large open space away from the heavy traffic of the Vietnamese capital.
Yellowing grass, brush and rubbish rise around it, but the track still looks good, with the word “Vietnam” clearly visible painted on the tarmac.
Outside the chain-link fence, motorcycles, ubiquitous in Hanoi, have already taken over the streets that were meant to be part of the 5.6-kilometer circuit.
The Southeast Asian country signed a 10-year deal with Formula 1 in 2018hoping that the glamor of this sport would promote the image of Hanoi and reflect the economic development of the country.
At a cost of 60 million euros per year, the bill was to be borne entirely by the country’s largest private conglomerate VinGroup.
But following the cancellation of 2020, the race was dropped from the 2021 schedule after Hanoi Mayor Nguyen Duc Chung, a major supporter of the project, was arrested. He was subsequently sentenced to 10 years in prison for corruption.
State media said that the municipal authorities ruled out in June 2021 hosting the race between 2022 and 2029. They have not confirmed this information to AFP. Nevertheless, Hanoi is again absent from the 2023 program announced last month.
The country’s small but growing Formula 1 fan base has yet to get over the disappointment of the canceled 2020 race.
“It would have been my first opportunity to see the drivers, the Formula 1 cars, the teams in real life,” said Bui Viet Giang, 23. “I’m sorry it’s not going to happen. I hope it can be organized in the future,” he added.