Vietnam F1 date a push towards calendar grouping - Sean Bratches

An April date for Vietnam’s Formula 1 debut is part of Liberty Media’s desire to move towards a geographically organised calendar, according to commercial chief Sean Bratches.

Formula 1 confirmed on Wednesday that Vietnam will join the calendar from 2020, with a 5.5km semi-permanent street circuit located in the west of Hanoi.

Formula 1’s calendar begins in Australia – as it will continue to do so under the terms of Melbourne’s contract – and is followed by events in Bahrain, China and Azerbaijan, prior to the European stint of the campaign.

The American rounds, bar Canada, are grouped towards the end of the campaign, though Formula 1 returns East in September/October for rounds in Singapore, Russia and Japan.

“One of the things we are currently trying to do is align our races by geography,” said Bratches.

“We are subject to some agreements we have inherited.

“But ideally, and not necessarily in this order, we would like to have our races in the Asian and Australasian markets grouped, as we would the races in our American and European markets.

“April in Vietnam supports that vision.”

Bratches believes Liberty has taken a different, “proactive” approach with regards to adding Vietnam to the calendar, in comparison to the “reactive” stance adopted by predecessor CVC Capital Partners.

“We’re the beneficiaries of interest from cities, states, countries, municipalities from around the world,” he said of assessing potential new events.

“We have been taking a very cadenced approach in terms of how we go to market in terms of race promotion, choosing carefully so that potential races fit well with the existing structure we have and the direction in which we want to go in the future.

“Historically Formula 1 has been very reactive in terms of people coming to them, but we have been more proactive, going to markets that we think are aligned with our brand values and which provide the opportunity to engage fans in new ways.

“A street circuit is a great way to do that. We have Monaco, Baku and Singapore and [Vietnam] is a great addition to that line-up.”

See also: Bratches warns Silverstone over F1 future