Saudi Arabia is reported to join the F1 grid from 2021 onward with a street race in Jeddah, before shifting to a permanent base in 2022.
There were reports of a F1 race in Saudi Arabia already, from 2022 onward, under the country’s ‘Vision 2030’ plan, where they are to build an entertainment site in Qiddiya, which is south-west of the capital Riyadh.
But it looks like the regime in Saudi Arabia is pushing for a street race in Jeddah in 2021, before shifting to the permanent venue. The deal between the Crown Prince and F1 is reported by Daily Mail which amounts to 50 million pounds on a per year basis.
Should it happen, F1 will join the likes of Boxing, Tennis, WWE, Football and Cycling, to have visited the country albeit with the backlash. It won’t be the first motor racing event, though, as Saudi Arabia has hosted Formula E and Race of Champions already.
In fact, they are currently staging the 2020 Dakar Rally. Considering no races are dropped in 2021, the F1 calendar may see 24 races as Miami is also slated to be in the mix. The new regulations allows for upto 25 races but they played down that it will happen.
At the same time, with a truncated weekend being proposed, where the Thursday is likely to be axed for everything to start from Friday, F1 could accommodate more races. All of it remains to be seen, though, with Miami still in discussions after Mayor’s veto.
In the case of Saudi Arabia, it will be to see how it handles the backlash on the human rights ground. But having already raced in places like Russia, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Azerbaijan, it shouldn’t be a big hurdle for the FIA and or the F1 community.
Here’s story about a race in Panama as well
Here’s the last from Miami GP saga