In addition to being axed from the current F1 season, reports indicate the Vietnamese Grand Prix has also been cancelled for 2021. But not because of COVID-19 or any other pandemic-related reason, for that matter. In a fascinating turn of events, Vietnam’s absence from the provisional schedule has to do with corruption charges laid on key officials and documents containing state secrets.
In August, Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee – Nguyen Duc Chung – was arrested for allegedly appropriating the aforementioned documents containing state secrets. As it is understood, there’s also an ongoing investigation which involves smuggling, accounting violations, money laundering, and bidding violations (none of which are linked to F1).
Chung was integral to negotiations with the government to establish an inaugural Vietnamese Grand Prix for 2020, as well as its subsequent organisation and execution. With his hands quite literally tied – or rather cuffed – organisation/execution simply isn’t possible. And as authorities have stated, there are far more pressing matters than motorsports at this stage ranging from typhoon recovery to elections. Meaning it may be a while before we see Lewis Hamilton lead by a ridiculous margin in Hanoi.
A replacement will most likely be one of the tracks fans witnessed this season due to COVID-19. According to BBC, the leading candidates include the upcoming Turkish GP, Italy’s Imola, and Portugal’s Portimao. We’ll just have to wait and see tomorrow when the 2021 F1 calendar is officially published.
In the meantime, check out the provisional dates and locations below:
- 21 March – Australia (Melbourne)
- 28 March – Bahrain (Sakhir)
- 11 April – China (Shanghai)
- 25 April [TBC]
- 9 May – Spain (Barcelona)
- 23 May – Monaco
- 6 June – Azerbaijan (Baku)
- 13 June – Canada (Montreal)
- 27 June – France (Le Castellet)
- 4 July – Austria (Spielberg)
- 18 July – Britain (Silverstone)
- 1 August – Hungary (Hungaroring)
- 29 August -Belgium (Spa)
- 5 September – Netherlands (Zandvoort)
- 12 September – Italy (Monza)
- 26 September – Russia (Sochi)
- 3 October – Singapore (Marina Bay)
- 10 October – Japan (Suzuka)
- 24 October – US (Austin)
- 31 October – Mexico (Mexico City)
- 14 November – Brazil (Sao Paulo) [Pending Promoter Agreement]
- 28 November – Saudi Arabia (Jeddah)
- 5 December – Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina)