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Formula 1 Prepares to Launch Racing in Vietnam

President and CEO of Formula 1 Chase Carey, left, Hanoi Mayor Nguyen Duc Chung, second from left and two other officials watch the Hanoi F1 circuit design on the screen in Hanoi, Vietnam, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018. Formula 1 and Hanoi officials on…
Formula 1 Prepares to Launch Racing in Vietnam
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A new car racing track is nearing completion in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The Formula 1 website reports that crews are expected to finish work on the race course next month. The international racing event is making preparations for the country’s first Formula 1 Grand Prix. The race is to take place in April.

The Vietnam Grand Prix circuit, or raceway, is 5.6 kilometers in length. It was designed to include a permanent track structure, but also extends into some of Hanoi’s streets. Formula 1 says it expects drivers to reach top speeds of about 335 kilometers an hour.

Asia experts say Formula 1’s arrival in Vietnam demonstrates the economic health of the Communist-led country. The Grand Prix races are expected to bring more foreigners into Vietnam.

Rajiv Biswas is the chief Asia-Pacific economist at market research company IHS Markit. He told VOA he thinks the government will use Formula 1 events to expand the country’s tourism industry. “Then of course Vietnam’s own more upper middle-class population would be interested in these types of events,” he added.

Liam Parker is head of communications for Formula 1. He says one reason the organization chose Vietnam was because of major growth in its increasingly market-driven economy. The country enjoys a growing local population with a “large and young workforce” and higher personal earnings, Parker told VOA.

“Hanoi is one of the most exciting cities in the world right now with such a rich history and an incredible future ahead of it,” he added. “This is the perfect formula for Grand Prix racing and we believe this will become a real highlight of the F1 calendar.”

Between 2010 and 2018, the number of foreign tourists in Vietnam expanded from 5 million to more than 15 million.

Vietnamese officials expect the Formula 1 event to bring in even more tourists, said Mark Thomas, an advisor with sports marketing company OmniCom Experiential Group.

“I sort of think it works for both sides,” Thomas said. He explained that the government gets a new way to advertise Vietnam to the world, while Formula 1 and its owners make money from the deal.

Vietnam, like China 15 years ago, is an “up-and-coming nation that wants to showcase itself to the world,” Thomas added. Around East Asia, Formula 1 holds other races in China, Japan and Singapore.

More than one-third of Vietnam’s 97 million people will be middle class or more by next year, the Boston Consulting Group predicts. The middle-class growth is fueled mainly by a rise in export manufacturing that has created jobs.

More Vietnamese now have money to attend live sporting events. Soccer and basketball have both gained popularity in recent years. A Formula 1 Grand Prix ticket will cost between $30 to $300, depending on the event date and seats bought.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Ralph Jennings wrote this story for VOA News. Bryan Lynn adapted the report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

track n. a path or road used for races

tourism n. the business of providing services for visitors to a place

incredible adj. very good or exciting

calendar n. events planned during the year for a particular activity or organization

showcase v. present the best qualities of something