Top gun F1 drivers to race in Jeddah streets


Saudi Arabia F1 race in Jeddah Image: F1

Saudi Arabia will debut in the F1 Grand Prix next year when the Middle East country will stage its biggest ever sporting spectacle.

The event will see the world’s cream of crop drivers and constructors battle it out behind the wheels in a street track in Jeddah in a spectacular night race to be held in November 2021.

Formula One (also known as Formula 1 or F1) is the highest class of international single-seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and is owned by Liberty Media, an American mass media company, through its wholly owned subsidiary, the Formula One Group. A Formula One season consists of a series of races, known as Grand Prix, which take place worldwide on purpose-built circuits and on public roads.

The City of Jeddah will stage the first Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in November 2021 following a long-term partnership inked between Formula 1 and the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF).

The adrenaline rush event will take place on Jeddah’s corniche, which runs along the banks of the Red Sea, providing a coastal backdrop for a full weekend of live motorsport, entertainment and culture that will take over the second biggest City in Saudi Arabia.

The race will be run on a street track, however, there are plans for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to move to a purpose-built circuit at some point in the future.

Stated Chase Carey, Chairman and Chief Executive of Formula 1, “We are excited to welcome Saudi Arabia to Formula 1 for the 2021 season and welcome their announcement following speculation in recent days.

Saudi Arabia is a country that is rapidly becoming a hub for sports and entertainment with many major events taking place there in recent years and we are very pleased that Formula 1 will be racing there from next season.”

“The region is hugely important to us and with 70 percent of the population of Saudi being under 30 we are excited about the potential to reach new fans and bring our existing fans around the world exciting racing from an incredible and historic location. We will be publishing our full provisional 2021 calendar in the coming weeks and this will be submitted to the World Motor Sport Council for approval,” Carey added.

His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki AlFaisal Al Saud, Minister of Sport, added, “Saudi Arabia is accelerating forward and the speed, energy, excitement of Formula 1 perfectly reflects the transformational journey the country is on. As we’ve witnessed in recent years our people want to be at the very heart of the biggest moments in live sport and entertainment. And they don’t come any bigger than Formula 1.”

“No matter where in the world it’s held, Formula 1 is an event that brings people together to celebrate an occasion that goes far beyond sport. We look forward to sharing this unique experience and sharing Jeddah with the world. For many Saudis, this will be a dream come true,” the Minister added.

Added HRH Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Faisal, President, Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, “Today is groundbreaking in every sense. I firmly believe the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will be the biggest sports event hosted in our country’s history and has the potential to change lives, perceptions and reach new audiences and communities like never before. To have the icons of the sport and historic teams’ race in Saudi in front of young fans and families is truly game-changing.”

Al Faisal added, “We don’t have a rich motorsport heritage, but in a short space of time as a federation we have earned a strong reputation of delivering world-class international events such as Formula E and the Dakar Rally. As a result, Saudi Arabia is home to literally millions of passionate young fans of motorsport. Many of them will already be smiling and counting days on their fingers to see their heroes in action in November 2021. Our plans will see us take the sport to even more people with a celebration that reaches all communities and is open to all.”

In 2018, when Riyadh hosted Formula E, there was also live music concerts and entertainment alongside the racing action, with over 40,000 people gracing each of the three nights.

Formula E is a single-seater motorsport championship that uses only electric cars. The series is promoted and owned by Formula E Holdings.

Qiddiya Investment Company (QIC) has said its motorsport venue is being developed as part of a vast sports and entertainment resort in Saudi Arabia and will be ready in 2023, adding that it hopes to be part of talks to bring Formula 1 to the country.

QIC is driving the development of Qiddiya – Saudi Arabia’s capital of entertainment, sports and the arts. Qiddiya is an entertainment mega project to be established in Riyadh. Construction started in the beginning of 2019. The project is one of the tourism megaprojects to be established in Saudi Arabia in the framework of the Saudi Vision 2030 which aims to diversify the income resources of the country.

In June 2019, QIC revealed the blueprint for its sports and entertainment resort, with the ‘giga project’ to boast a 20,000-seat cliff-top stadium, a multiuse indoor arena which can pack in a crowd of 18,000, and other facilities.

Almamoun Alshinghiti, Executive Director, Sports, told mediapersons that it will go on to become the “motorsports capital of the world”.

The rest of the F1 calendar for 2021 is yet to be confirmed.

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