Vietnam which was slated to host its first F1 Grand Prix (GP) in 2020 was one of the casualties of the pandemic. Now, it is being reported that it has even lost the race in 2021, this time around not the pandemic but politics as the Hanoi people's committee chairman Nguyen Duc Chung was arrested earlier in the year. Chung was a pivotal figure in bringing the race to Vietnam was detained in August for the alleged appropriation of documents that contain state secrets. There is no clarity if the race will survive or not in light of these events but for 2021 it stands cancelled which reduces the proposed calendar for the year to 22 from 23.
There are many contenders for the April 25 slot that Vietnam was supposed to take - it could be Turkey which is hosting the next race this weekend or recently concluded pandemic additions like Imola or Portimao. The Brazilian GP which was slated to be moved to a new track on the outskirts of Rio isn't being moved and the race stays back in Sao Paolo at the legendary Interlagos circuit. Interlagos is also missing from 2020 calendar due to the pandemic and many feared that the last race at the track had already been done.
F1 has already announced the calender officially but has left a placeholder for the April 25 weekend. On Monday an FIA spokesman said that the new venue needs an approval from the world motor sport council before it can be officially announced bu there are many candidates. 2021 will mark the return of the Netherlands and the debut of Saudi Arabia on the F1 calender.
Interestingly, this will make 2021 one of the most gruelling seasons of all time as Liberty Media has masterly learned out to conduct a 17 race season during a pandemic. For 2021, the British GP which is one of the centrepiece events of the calendar closely avoids clashes with Euro 2020 at Wembley and Wimbledon men's singles finals all of which are happening in London on the same day as it is happening on July 18. The season starts in Australia at Melbourne's Albert Park on March 21 and ends on November 28 in Abu Dhabi.