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Volume 26 No. 175
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Vietnam Event Part Of F1's Goal To Add More Destination Cities

The addition of a F1 Vietnam Grand Prix in April '20 will be "especially significant because it will be the first race added" under owner Liberty Media, according to Luke Smith of the N.Y. TIMES. Since acquiring the racing series in '17, Liberty has been "clear in its desire to take the series to what the company called 'destination cities,' such as Miami, Las Vegas and London." Liberty said that it "planned to expand to 24 or 25 races in the next five years and also had its eyes on Africa and on adding another race" in the U.S. F1 Global Dir of Promoters & Business Relations Chloe Targett-Adams said, "We're looking at locations that are going to give us a destination and iconic capabilities, both from a live event experience and a TV audience perspective, and where we're going to be able to create a really great racing spectacle." The F1 calendar currently has 21 races and the series "saw an opportunity to capitalize on its growing Asian market." But Vietnam "hasn't before hosted major events on a global scale." There is also a new race in the Netherlands coming up in May, but "not everyone is convinced by Liberty's strategy." While adding the two new races, F1 is also "losing one next year." The German Grand Prix is "set to drop off the schedule." Races in Britain, Spain and Italy have also "faced uncertainty in recent years because of the challenge of raising money" to meet F1's hosting fees, which can be as high as $40M (N.Y. TIMES, 9/7).

POSITIVE DEBUT: In N.Y., Ian Parkes noted the six-race W Series conceived last year by CEO Catherine Bond Muir to "promote female drivers" into F1 just completed its inaugural season, and it has "changed some minds" about the first international motorsport racing series for women. Bond Muir said that the W Series had an "extraordinary debut season." She said, "We were amazed at the global reaction we received. We gained traction in a lot of different places. I think it's a great combination of women in fast cars. People find the concept really attractive." She added women's sports are "surging forward in popularity." Bond Muir said that by the end of the season last month, the series was "being shown in over 50 countries, reaching up to 350 million households." Bond Muir: "What was amazing was how TV came on board immediately." Parkes noted the "ultimate aim of the series is to have the first female driver" in F1 since Lella Lombardi in '74 (N.Y. TIMES, 9/7).