Mercedes has released an onboard lap of the Hanoi Street Circuit that was scheduled to host Formula 1’s inaugural Vietnam Grand Prix this weekend, before the event was postponed.
Test driver Esteban Gutierrez, who started 59 grands prix for Sauber and Haas from 2013-16, completes a full lap of Hanoi in the Mercedes simulator in the video.
The lap showcases several heavy braking zones and the unusual configuration of a circuit the Tilke Engineers & Architects track design company hopes will provide action when it finally does host its first grand prix.
“We did the design for the first time together with the design department of F1 led by Ross Brawn,” said Hermann Tilke in an interview with Formula 1 released earlier this year.
“One thing is, for example that we have a very short pitlane so that pitstops are very short time wise, so we expect more than one pitstop.
“[For or overtaking opportunities there is] Turn 1, then of course after the straight of 1.5km leading into a hairpin. [Turn 11].”
The simulator lap also showcases the he fast, sweeping section at the end of the lap that leaves little margin for error with the barriers so close.
Gutierrez describes this section as one of the most technical on the entire calendar in the video, while McLaren driver Lando Norris, speaking at McLaren’s launch in February, talked up the track after his first experience of it.
“I drove it on the simulator the other day and it was a good track to drive,” said Norris.
“It’s going to be quite difficult, the final sector’s quite high speed, close to the walls.”
The Vietnam Grand Prix was postponed on March 13 in the wake of the abandonment of the season-opening Australian event.
It is hoped that it might be rescheduled for later in the year, with F1’s last public statement suggesting it is still hoping for a calendar comprising 15-18 races.