Vietnam is edging closer to hosting its first Formula 1 grand prix in 2020 following a visit from FIA race director Charlie Whiting to the proposed site in Hanoi.

F1 officials have been in discussions with potential promoters over a race in Vietnam for some time, with an event being staged by the series’ global beer partner, Heineken, earlier this year in Ho Chi Minh City.

F1 race director Whiting confirmed on Sunday that he visited Vietnam en route to Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix to check on progress for the proposed circuit, which is in the “advanced stages” of being designed.

“There’s no actual progress on building the track, but the site's been identified. It’s in the advanced stages of design,” Whiting said.

“As far as I'm aware, they're aiming for a 2020 grand prix, which shouldn't be a problem based on previous experience.”

Whiting confirmed the planned circuit was “to the west of Hanoi, about 12 km from the centre,” and would be “mainly on the streets” with “a section which is not yet built.”

“It's an open site where the pit building's going to be built,” Whiting said.

“Part of the track will be built there, which doesn't exist at the moment. But it will become a road, I understand, after that.”

Whiting accepted a comparison between the planned Hanoi circuit and the original proposals for the Yeongam track which hosted the Korean Grand Prix between 2010 and 2013, which was intended to be part street circuit and part permanent circuit.

“Yes, I suppose it was, wasn’t it, because half of that was supposed to be a permanent track and the rest was supposed to be something else,” Whiting said.

“But as you know, it didn’t quite work out.”

The addition of Vietnam to the F1 calendar in 2020 would see Liberty Media add its first new race to the schedule since completing its takeover of the sport in January 2017.

F1’s commercial rights holder announced plans earlier this year to stage a race in Miami from 2019, only to confirm over the summer it had shelved these plans, instead aiming to get the race on the calendar from 2020.

Regarding Vietnam, a Formula 1 spokesman told “Definitely Vietnam is, among others, one of the countries we are evaluating to host a Grand Prix race in the next future.”

The current F1 schedule stands at 21 races, with the same roster planned in 2019. The calendar for next year is set to be ratified by the World Motor Sport Council when it meets later this week in Paris.