By Bảo Hoa and Paul Kennedy
HÀ NỘI — The Việt Nam Formula One Grand Prix scheduled to take place in just three weeks’ time has been postponed, organisers announced on Friday evening.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the race in Hà Nội will not go ahead as planned.
Vietnam Grand Prix Company said in a statement: “This is a tough decision as 2020 is the year Việt Nam became one of the 22 official hosts of the F1 race.”
The announcement comes hot on the heels of the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix which was due to open the F1 season in Melbourne on Sunday.
Earlier this week, Formula One Group CEO Chase Carey was in Hà Nội for high-level talks with government officials.
And on Friday night an announcement from Vietnam Grand Prix Company was made.
The statement reads in full: “The decision to postpone the Formula 1 Vinfast Vietnam Grand Prix 2020 was made after several discussions and careful consideration between the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), Formula One World Championship Ltd (F1), the Hà Nội People’s Committee, and the Vietnam Motorsports Association (VMA), with a consensus from the Vietnam Grand Prix company (VFPC).
“This is a tough decision as 2020 is the year Việt Nam became one of the 22 official hosts of the F1 race. VGPC and the city’s committee has prepared the best of infrastructure and technical and technological foundations that meet the strict requirements of F1 and FIA.
“The F1 circuit in Mỹ Đình has been completed at international standards and ready for operation. However, as COVID-19 is getting more complicated and declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, Formula 1 Vinfast Vietnam Grand Prix has been postponed to ensure the safety of the Vietnamese people, visitors, racers and partners.
“FIA, F1, the Hà Nội People’s Committee, VMA and VFPC will continue their collaboration and keep a close watch on COVID-19 to decide on a new date that will be safer and more suitable for the grand prix to take place and will make an official announcement to the public.
“As Formula 1 Vinfast Vietnam Grand Prix is one of the most anticipated events of the F1 calendar this year, FIA, F1, the Hà Nội People’s Committee, VMA and VFPC will do their best to bring it back to Hà Nội after COVID-19 is under control.”
This would have been the inaugural race for Việt Nam, who last year reached a deal with F1 to host the Formula One meeting for up to 10 years.
Only last month, the racetrack and grandstand at Mỹ Đình were completed.
Organisers say they are still looking at rescheduling the race, if a suitable date can be found when the COVID-19 outbreak has died down. — VNS