At times, lots of times in recent years, Formula One has been accused of being too predictable. However, with a new circuit on the horizon in April 2020 there is a lot to be cheerful about and a lot of unknowns still to be uncovered. First of all, we have already learnt that the Hanoi city track will have 23 corners as opposed to the originally reported 22 and with such an evolving track it will be very hard for drivers to have ample time to master it before the race weekend arrives. This can only be a positive for the sport as it should prove to be a real test of seeing the driver (as opposed to the car) dictate success.
It has been well reported how pedestrian Lewis Hamilton made his charge to a 6th world title seem in the latter stages of the season, following Ferrari’s imploding. However, the current champion is aware that his rivals are not as far behind as the 2019 points tally made things seem.
There are many who believe that Formula One going behind the pay wall did irreparable damage to the sport but there is no disputing the fact that Sky has taken the sport to a new level in terms of entertainment value and exclusives. So, whilst the team took part in their all too familiar post-season trip to Malaysia to celebrate yet another championship, with the staff working within the corridors of PETRONAS Towers, Lewis Hamilton shared with sky his thoughts on what is to come:
"Next year I think will be similar to this year. However, I think the competition is probably going to step up. You have seen this year McLaren have picked up, Red Bull have picked up their pace, you have seen some more teams are coming into the spot. So really fighting for position is going to be key. I think it's a little bit easier to chase than it is to lead."
And what a chase it promises to be around the streets of Hanoi.
Due to being the 3rd race on the 2020 calendar – after the season opener in Melbourne and then the battle in Bahrain – drivers and teams will hopefully still be finding their feet in the season so Hanoi may very well push the drivers to the limit of their capabilities - which is how it should be at every race!
F1.com announced last week that the track is on course for completion in early January at a length of 5.6km which features the much publicised 1.5km straight. We all remember the sight of (what was effectively) a drag race between the battle damaged W10 of Lewis Hamilton and Pierre Gasly’s Toro Rosso on the straight in Brazil this year at the culmination of the race. If Hanoi can feature even half the drama - then fans around the world are certainly in for a treat.
Vietnam’s track, like several others on the 2020 Calendar, is a street circuit and as such it needs to be adjusted to the actual geographical conditions of the area whilst also making sure that it meets with every single requirement of the FIA and F1 – of which there are many. This again shows how time will be short for teams to master the circuit and as such we can expect the Free Practice sessions to be the busiest of the entire year – no one will be staying in the garage on this weekend.
Therefore, all this equates to a spectacular race for fans so no wonder that the announcement of tickets being on sale, at a very reasonable price, has been met with such a warm response.
The race itself is scheduled for April 5th 2020 but the real action and the most important data will be acquired on Friday April 3rd. On this day we can certainly expect the grandstands to be full…as well as the track!