Apr 14, 2019 / 14:01

F1 helps Hanoi become hi-tech innovative city: British Amb.

The Hanoitimes - British Ambassador to Vietnam Gareth Ward said that Hanoi has done a good job to preserve the unique feel of the center.

Formula One (F1) racing can help Hanoi preserve its own values as well as improve the brand recognition of Vietnam's capital as a hi-tech innovative city, said British Ambassador to Vietnam Gareth Ward in an interview granted to Hanoitimes about Hanoi hosting of F1 racing, which is scheduled to take place in April next year.
British Ambassador to Vietnam, Gareth Ward.
British Ambassador to Vietnam Gareth Ward.
What can you comment on Hanoi's hosting of the Formula one racing in April 2020?
I have been in Hanoi now for seven months as British Ambassador to Vietnam and I’m really appreciating the way Hanoi is opening up to the world, to the tourists, business, and the way Hanoi wants to be seen as a cultural and economic hub.
Hanoi has organized many kinds of important international events, including the second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un in February 2019. That Hanoi hosts Formula One racing is a big deal, because the F1 racing has massive audiences, and it really strengthens the world’s awareness about the brand of Vietnam’s capital.
Hanoi will be one of the first cities from a middling country that is hosting F1 racing. So I felt excited and impressed that Hanoi has such a vision and such an ambition to run a street circuit. I have watched F1 racing in Singapore, which has a street circuit. With the atmosphere of brilliance, it’s a big party for the whole city, the world attention focuses to Singapore and it’s a great way to advertize. And I think Hanoi has the opportunity to do the same.
In your experience, what changes does Hanoi expect to have when hosting F1 racing?
I think the image and attractiveness of Vietnam is improving. For example, 10 years ago, there were only 70,000 – 80,000 British people coming to Vietnam per year, but in 2018, there were about 300,000 British visitors to Vietnam. Foreign visitors come and fall in love with Hanoi. Visitors fall in love with the street life, the food, the atmosphere in Hanoi's Old Quarter.
In recent years, Hanoi has opened its arms and eyes to the world to welcome foreign tourists by focusing on the culture and history. Now, I think by hosting the F1 racing, Hanoi will be able to show itself as a dynamic Asian city, a leading Asian city that is innovative and hi-tech. That’s what Formula one racing can help Hanoi achieve, to improve the brand recognition of Vietnam's capital as a hi-tech innovative city.
I have traveled a lot around Asia. In many Asian cities that have fast economic development, new architecture looks great, but the new architecture can sometimes lose the historic value of the city. But I think Hanoi has done a good job to preserve the unique feel of the center. In my experience, the idea of creating the pedestrian space around Hoan Kiem Lake is excellent and I think that should be a model, perhaps the same should be done to the other parts of city, maybe in West Lake for instance.
Could you please share more British’s experience in hosting the F1 racing?
I think British companies are very good at the software of the F1 racing. We could have a ticket system to make sure that people can enjoy. In addition, the UK is also good at organizing short-term infrastructure, because most of the infrastructure will need to be built quickly, used for a week and taken down quickly. And we have a lot of solutions for temporary building, including power, facility. The UK has a lot of experience in marketing and promotion side.
The UK has a lot of cooperation with the Hanoi People’s Committee, including education, healthcare and sport. In terms of sport, the UK will bring expertise to make sure that the Hanoi People’s Committee and Vingroup and other participants in the F1 racing have a chance to receive good expertise and advice.
The F1 racing is an advertizing opportunity, a commercial opportunity, a lot of big international companies will want to be involved and associated. Hanoi needs to get the maximum coverage, just like Vietnam's capital was on front page of every newspaper in the world during the second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un.
In think, Hanoi needs to be on the backpage of every newspaper around the world during the three-day F1 racing. So, the organizing board needs to deal with the journalists, the marketing and the advertizing.
The F1 racing is not just about building a track, it’s also about setting up the ticketing, the hospitality and the entertainment event around the race. In addition, there are many kinds of evening events during three days of racing, including music concerts and cultural events. I’m sure that the organizing board from the Hanoi People’s Committee is taking good advice from others which got experience of running the F1 racing. There is still one year left, but it’s time to start the work on building infrastructure, preparing people and services for the racing in Hanoi.
I hope that there will be many kinds of different tickets for the F1 racing in Hanoi. One option is walkabout ticket, which means you can get into the area, walk around and see different parts of the race. Because, it’s also fun when you have a chance to watch the riders prepare for the racing.
Thank you very much, Ambassador!