Where should replace Vietnam on the 2021 calendar?

With Hanoi pulling out of 2021, there's a TBC slot to be filled on the calendar, with many candidates ready to fill in.

37w ago
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Due to political issues in Vietnam, it looks like F1 will never visit Hanoi. This has opened up a gap in this season's calendar after Shanghai, which it's likely F1 would like to fill. There are several tracks which could replace Vietnam, included those which were added to the 2020 season, and some which haven't hosted races in recent years.

Here are some of the contenders.

Sepang, Malaysia

Sepang was a real fans favourite during its 19-year stint on the calendar, being renowned for its sweeping corners, long straights and unpredictable weather. However, due to dwindling crowds, Malaysia was removed from the calendar after 2017, despite cries from fans to have it reinstated.

The track was one of Hermann Tilke's better designs and produced some iconic moments, such as the downpours seen in 2001 and 2009, and Lewis Hamilton's dramatic engine failure in 2016.

Hosting round four of the season at Sepang would make sense logistically, due to Malaysia's proximity to Vietnam and also to the preceding round in China. Sepang is also no stranger to hosting races early in the season, with the majority of the Malaysian Grand Prix's being held during the first Asian leg of the year.

Unfortunately, a return to Sepang looks unlikely in the near future. Circuit bosses have expressed no desire to host F1 in the near future, instead focusing on the very popular Moto GP.

The 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix was only the fifth time in history half-points were awarded, after the race was red-flagged.

The 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix was only the fifth time in history half-points were awarded, after the race was red-flagged.

Nürburgring, Germany

F1 returned to the Nürburgring after a seven-year absence, with a late and bitterly cold October race. It was an enjoyable watch, but nothing spectacular, especially after Hamilton was able to pass teammate Valtteri Bottas - and being compared to some of the other brilliant replacement races we saw last season.

Despite this, an F1 calendar without space for a race in Germany just feels wrong. The Nürburgring is steeped in history from both the Nordschleife days and the current GP circuit.

Yet, it appears that 2020 was just a one-off, with no talks of the Nürburgring returning permanently to the F1 calendar. Hosting fees appear to be the problem, with circuit owners unwilling to meet F1's demands.

The Rhineland in April may also be a problem, with an average temperature of just 10°C. This would likely cause further tyre temperature issues, as seen at last season's Eiffel Grand Prix.

The Nürburgring has hosted F1 under four different titles, the German, Luxembourg, European and Eiffel Grand Prix.

The Nürburgring has hosted F1 under four different titles, the German, Luxembourg, European and Eiffel Grand Prix.

Hockenheim, Germany

The Nürburgring's younger and arguably more likeable cousin last played host to F1 in 2019, the instant classic German Grand Prix, which was won by Max Verstappen. The bonkers race was full of incidents, overtakes and redemption for Sebastian Vettel, who came through the field to finish second - after he crashed out from the lead in 2018.

Similarly to its older relative, Hockenheim has struggled with financing F1, especially after the deal between the two tracks to host in alternative years was cancelled in 2013. Hockenheim then became biennial, hosting the German Grand Prix in both 2016 and 2018, with an additional deal secured to host the 2019 race.

Despite Hockenheim being 200 kilometres further south than the Nurburgring, temperatures still remain relatively cold for F1 making it even more unlikely that Germany will be hosting a grand prix in 2021.

The 2019 German Grand Prix was voted as the race of the decade by F1 fans.

The 2019 German Grand Prix was voted as the race of the decade by F1 fans.

Portimao, Portugal

The Circuit de Algarve enjoyed an impressive audition in 2020, as it held its first ever F1 race as one of the many replacement tracks. The track was praised by fans and drivers alike, for it's radical elevation changes and for cars being able to race side-by-side. Portimao is already written into the history books for being the place where Hamilton overtook Michael Schumacher's record of 92 wins.

It would be favourable for F1 to host round four of the season at Portimao due to it being so close to the next round of the championship at Barcelona. Unlike Germany, climate would not be as big of an issue. The average temperature on the Portuguese southern cost in April is 16°C, not quite ideal for modern F1 tyres, but better than the chilly German spring.

Like so many issues in F1 currently, money is at the forefront- and for now it doesn't look like the circuits owners are able to negotiate a financially viable hosting fee.

Portimao was the first Portuguese circuit to host a grand prix since Estoril in 1996.

Portimao was the first Portuguese circuit to host a grand prix since Estoril in 1996.

Istanbul, Turkey

A slippery Istanbul Park track played host to possibly the best race of 2020. The tricky conditions set the stage for an unbelievable Lance Stroll pole, a race full of spins, a dramatic last-corner podium battle - and a world-class Hamilton win to equal the World Championship record.

Istanbul is one of Tilke's best ever designs, with the circuit famous for it's sensational quadruple-apex Turn 8. But it also has elevation change, some flowing sections and great overtaking opportunities.

The circuit hosted the Turkish Grand Prix between 2005 and 2011. In it's final year, it was the first race to be staged in Europe, something that would certainly be beneficial for 2021. Meteorology also wouldn't be an issue, with Istanbul enjoying a relatively warm April climate.

Is it likely to host another grand prix anytime soon? Circuit bosses have shown a very keen interest in F1 returning to Turkey, trying to negotiate a deal which doesn't provide to much of a financial burden for the venue - although a race this year looks unlikely due to the vacant spot coinciding with Ramadan. Even if we don't see F1 racing around Istanbul this year, we may very well see the track return in the not too distant future.

The 2020 Turkish Grand Prix was Vettel's first podium since the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix, over a year prior.

The 2020 Turkish Grand Prix was Vettel's first podium since the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix, over a year prior.

Mugello, Italy

Mugello's first ever race was chaotic to say the least, with two red flag periods and a massive pile-up after a safety car restart.

The Tuscan Grand Prix was enjoyed by both drivers and fans for it's fast, challenging corners. Without any significant braking zone, it was a welcomed difference from anything else seen in F1 recently. Also, it had a gorgeous backdrop.

Despite drivers claiming they would like to return to Mugello, there does not appear to be any plans of F1 returning to Tuscany anytime soon.

Mugello was the first track to allow fans to attend in 2020.

Mugello was the first track to allow fans to attend in 2020.

Imola, Italy

F1 returned to the infamous Imola in 2020 for the first time since 2006 and it was rather strange to see these modern beasts of F1 cars lapping around the narrow circuit.

In racing terms, Imola is currently on pole to fill the vacant April slot. Italy is no stranger to hosting two races at different tracks, with Imola regularly taking the European Grand Prix title.

The Emilia Romagna President Stefano Bonaccini has stated that he wishes for Imola to return to the calendar on a permanent basis, however it is unknown if the circuit could afford to host races in consecutive years.

Nonetheless, Imola has emerged as the frontrunner to replace Vietnam for next season, even if it is just for 2021.

Hamilton was the first Briton to win at Imola since Damon Hill in 1996

Hamilton was the first Briton to win at Imola since Damon Hill in 1996

Let me know where you think should replace Vietnam this year!

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Comments (6)

  • Portimao!

      8 months ago
  • Watkins Glen, USA

      8 months ago
  • Well, if Oz is delayed/postponed as suggested in 's article, the whole season could yet be out of whack so the gap in April may turn into a gap later in the year..

      8 months ago
  • Korea GP

      8 months ago
  • Let’s push for it! We all love Korean bbq!

      8 months ago
6