Heineken senior global brand director Gianluca di Tondo would like to see Formula 1 stage a race in Vietnam as part of its expansion in the Asia-Pacific region.
Dutch beer company Heineken was announced as a new global partner for F1 over the Canadian Grand Prix weekend, with its branding being visible in Montreal and at the Italian Grand Prix earlier this month.
Heineken is looking to emulate its relationship with Europe’s premier soccer competition, the UEFA Champions League, in F1 through greater interaction with fans and special events.
One such event took place at Monza when a group of F1 drivers took on a Heineken all-star team in a game of soccer on the main straight of the track.
Following the takeover of F1 by American company Liberty Media Corporation, many believe an expansion of the calendar to include new markets is on the cards in the future.
“This is really touching on an important issue for us,” di Tondo said of the F1 calendar in an interview with the official F1 website.
“Heineken is super-strong in Europe – we were ‘born’ in Europe and are a European brand – but the playground for the future is Asia Pacific.
“Asia Pacific is a strategic area for us and having seven races around this area is fantastic, and the passion for Formula 1 in Asia is tangible.
“If there is program to double up in the US that, of course, is very interesting for us as the US is our biggest market. If you take it as a single market, it is still our biggest one.
“In the US it is easier to activate things that become popular – and we are open for discussions to make Formula 1 even more popular together.”
Di Tondo was asked which race he would add to the calendar if he had the choice.
“That is very simple – it is again in Asia: Vietnam,” he said.
“We are very present in Vietnam through a local partner and they were our guests in Monza and they were over the moon.
“So why not have a race in Ho Chi Minh City?”