LONDON: Saudi Arabia announced on Thursday that it will host a Formula 1 Grand Prix in its Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah in November, 2021.
Announcing the race in a ceremony on the Jeddah waterfront, Minister of Sport Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal said that the high-profile event will increase tourist numbers to the Kingdom.
“Welcome to Formula 1 and welcome to the champions,” Prince Abdul Aziz said.
He said that the race will help the Kingdom become a center for international sporting events.
“We realize the extent to which the people of Saudi Arabia are keen to always be at the center of the most important sporting and international events, especially that this is the first opportunity to follow Formula 1 races on Saudi land,” the minister said.
“Formula 1 races will be a great opportunity in the future to further promote positive developments in society, provide more options to enrich the life of our community and encourage it to test new experiences,” Prince Abdul Aziz added.
The race will be held in the Kingdom as part of a 15-year partnership between the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation and Formula 1.
The Jeddah Corniche will be the start and end point of the race, and a variety of recreational and cultural events will add to spectators’ enjoyment.
Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Faisal, chairman of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, said that the Kingdom is well qualified to host events such as the Formula 1 race.
Saudi Arabia has “learned a lot from hosting the Dakar Rally, the electric Formula E series,” and other sporting events during the past two years, he said.
The CEO and executive chairman of the Formula 1 Group, Chase Carey, welcomed the announcement.
“Saudi Arabia is growing tremendously to become a major center for sport in the world, and this is evident through the many international events it had held in past years, and now it will host one of the Formula 1 tours,” Carey said.
He said the Kingdom “is a very important region for us,” adding that about 70 percent of the Saudi population is under 30.
“That is why we are excited to communicate and interact with them, and enhance their great passion for Formula 1,” the CEO added.
The Saudi Grand Prix appears on the provisional F1 calendar for 2021 that has been distributed to race teams. It is expected to be the penultimate race of the 2021 season, which will end with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit.
Jeddah will host the Saudi race until a new purpose-built track at Qiddiyah is completed in 2023.