Saudi Arabia will host the Formula 1 Grand Prix in November, after confirming its intention to hold night races in the streets of Jeddah.
The Saudi Arabian Automobile and Motorcycle Federation said the race was the beginning of a long-term partnership with the sport.
Although few details about the Jeddah City circuit have been published, the SAMF has confirmed that the start and finish area is located along the waterfront of the city and that the race will take place at night.
The event is scheduled to be moved to Kiddiya, an hour’s drive from the capital Riyadh, once the purpose-built track is completed in 2023.
The race in Saudi Arabia was fully confirmed last week when Formula 1 included the country in the preliminary calendar for 2021, which was handed out to the teams.
We look forward to welcoming Saudi Arabia into the 2021 Formula 1 season and are pleased with their announcement following the speculation of recent days, said Chase Carey, Formula 1’s Chief Executive Officer.
Saudi Arabia is a country that has rapidly developed into a sports and entertainment centre with many major events in recent years, and we are very happy that Formula 1 will be participating from next season.
In the coming weeks we will publish our full preliminary calendar for 2021 and it will be submitted to the World Motor Sport Council for approval.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Formula will race along the quay of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s second largest city. Eric Lafforg/ Art in us all/Corbis through Getty Images
Saudi Arabia’s inclusion in the F1 calendar has already been criticised by the human rights organisation Amnesty International, which last week warned that the race was an attempt to break Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.
In recent years, Saudi Arabia has faced increasing international criticism of the human rights situation in the country after journalist Jamal Hashoggi was murdered and chopped to pieces by Saudi agents at his consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
When ESPN contacted Formula 1 to ask whether Saudi Arabia’s human rights policy and legislation were consistent with its own human rights statement and the #WeRaceAsOne diversity initiative, the spokesperson replied as follows.
For decades, Formula One has worked hard to be a positive force wherever it goes, including in terms of economic, social and cultural benefits, he said.
Sports like Formula 1 have the unique opportunity to transcend borders and cultures and bring countries and communities together to share the passion and excitement of incredible competition and performance.
We take our responsibility very seriously and have made our position on human rights and other issues clear to all our partners and host countries who are committed to respecting human rights in the organisation and conduct of their events.
The racing news follows the admission of the national oil company Aramco from Saudi Arabia as a Formula 1 world partner in March.
Saudi Arabia has organised a number of motor sport events in recent years and will organise the Dakar Rally in January. Besides, on the 26th and 27th. In February two all-electric Formula E races were held in Dyrie.
From 20 to 21 March, the new electric off-road series Extreme E will also be presented. March in Al Ula, and the country organizes tennis, boxing and golf tournaments.