Stick a fork in the Vietnamese Grand Prix (Update)

(GMM) The final nail may have been hammered into the ill-fated Vietnam GP.

Organizers had fully prepared for the Hanoi street race’s inaugural event early last year when the pandemic struck.

Then, before F1’s 2021 calendar showed a blank race name with ‘TBA’ listed for April 25, Vietnam’s hopes sunk deeper when key official Nguyen Duc Chung was arrested on charges of stealing documents related to state secrets.

Tuoi Tre, a state-controlled newspaper, reports that Chung was convicted at the end of a closed four-hour trial on Friday and sentenced to five years in prison.

“Without Chung, the future of the Hanoi race is bleak,” a source close to the Vietnamese communist party politician told Agence France Presse news agency.

The German news agency SID, meanwhile, claims that grandstands have now been removed from alongside the Hanoi layout despite Vietnam having signed a ten-year race deal in 2018.

November 9, 2020 

The Vietnamese Grand Prix has been dropped from the 2021 Formula 1 calendar, BBC Sport reports.

The date of the Vietnam race, 25 April, has been left blank on a 22-race 2021 schedule to be published on Tuesday.

The calendar could extend to 23 Grands Prix – a new record – if F1 can find a replacement for Vietnam.

Any replacement race would be at one of the tracks added to the calendar this year as a result of the pandemic, with Turkey, Italy’s Imola and Portugal’s Portimao the leading candidates.