Saudi sports minister, Formula 1 CEO discuss grand prix

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Sports Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal and Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali held talks in Jeddah on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Sports Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal and Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali held talks in Jeddah on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Sports Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal and Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali held talks in Jeddah on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Sports Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal and Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali held talks in Jeddah on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Sports Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal and Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali held talks in Jeddah on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Sports Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal and Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali held talks in Jeddah on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. (SPA)
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Updated 12 July 2021

Saudi sports minister, Formula 1 CEO discuss grand prix

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Sports Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal and Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali held talks in Jeddah on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. (SPA)
  • Inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will be held Dec. 3-5 on Jeddah’s corniche

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Sports Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal met with Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali in Jeddah on Wednesday to discuss the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
The penultimate round of this year’s F1 races will be held Dec. 3-5 on Jeddah’s corniche along the Red Sea shore. It is the first collaboration in the long-standing partnership between F1 and the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF). 
During the meeting, Prince Abdul Aziz and Domenicali discussed arrangements for hosting the much-anticipated street race and other details regarding the racing circuit.
Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al-Faisal, who is the SAMF chairman, and a number of F1 officials also attended the meeting.
The first Saudi Grand Prix will wrap up an exciting year for motorsports in the Kingdom as the Formula E Diriyah E-Prix was held under the lights for the first time in Riyadh last month.
The 2021 calendar for F1 begins on March 28 with the Bahrain Grand Prix.


Swiss beat France on penalties to reach Euro 2020 last eight

Swiss beat France on penalties to reach Euro 2020 last eight
Updated 29 June 2021

Swiss beat France on penalties to reach Euro 2020 last eight

Swiss beat France on penalties to reach Euro 2020 last eight
  • Mbappe misses last penalty for France

BUCHAREST: Switzerland’s Yann Sommer saved France striker Kylian Mbappe’s penalty to secure a 5-4 shootout win over the world champions following a thrilling 3-3 draw after extra time on Monday to reach the Euro 2020 quarter-finals where they will meet Spain.
On a memorable evening for Swiss football, the so-called Nati repeatedly beat the odds, coming from 3-1 down with two goals in the final five minutes to force extra time and eventually penalties.
It was Switzerland’s first knockout stage victory at a tournament since 1938 and the first time they have made the last eight since the 1954 World Cup which they hosted.
“Honestly I am still in shock,” said Sommer, who became the most capped Swiss keeper with 65 international appearances.
“We showed courage, heart, we left everything out there. When you come back from two goals down against the world champions it is just unbelievable, and then to win on penalties, I could not be prouder of the way we did it.”
France, who had started with an unusual three-man defense and lacked any real bite up front in the first half, looked to be heading for victory when Karim Benzema struck twice in two minutes early in the second half.
He latched on to Mbappe’s through ball in the 57th minute to cancel out Switzerland’s first-half lead from Haris Seferovic’s header.
Benzema then headed home from near the goal-line two minutes later to take his tournament tally to four as France grabbed control of the game only minutes after the Swiss missed a 55th minute penalty and the chance to go 2-0 up when Hugo Lloris saved Ricardo Rodriguez’s spot kick.
By the time Paul Pogba curled a sensational shot into the top corner in the 75th minute to make it 3-1 for France, who had reverted to a four-man backline in the second half, few believed the momentum could shift once more.
“Nobody believed in us anymore at that stage,” Sommer said. “We felt France had become a bit complacent and maybe thought they had already won it. So we used that to our advantage.”
Seferovic sneaked into the box again to head in his second goal with five minutes left and substitute Mario Gavranovic beat Lloris to snatch a 90th-minute equalizer and force extra time after France substitute Kingsley Coman’s drive hit the bar.
Olivier Giroud twice came close for France having come off the bench but the game was to be resolved on penalties where Sommer swatted Mbappe’s spot kick away after five Swiss players had scored to earn their first ever tournament shootout win.


Kingdom's mega project NEOM highlights Formula E World Championship environment role

Kingdom's mega project NEOM highlights Formula E World Championship environment role
Updated 24 June 2021

Kingdom's mega project NEOM highlights Formula E World Championship environment role

Kingdom's mega project NEOM highlights Formula E World Championship environment role
  • NEOM project highlights FE’s role in promoting alternative energy solutions, reduction air pollution and combating climate change
  • Director Sustainable Development NEOM said project aims to harness innovative solutions to achieve a more sustainable future

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia mega project NEOM has highlighted the role of the Formula E World Championship in reinforcing sustainable innovation, promoting alternative energy solutions, contributing to the reduction of air pollution and combating climate change globally.

Formula E has partnered with the UN Environment Program campaign "#BeatAirPollution", which coincides with the seventh season of electric racing series, and which was on display during the eighth and ninth rounds at Mexico’s Puebla e-Prix this weekend.

NEOM’s stance comes as the main partner of Mercedes EQ Formula E Team, and its Director of Sustainable Development Damien Trinder said the project aims to plays a major role in environment protection and harnessing innovative solutions to achieve a more sustainable future.

Trinder stressed that the partnership with the Mercedes EQ team established an opportunity to work side by side and exchange information and major resources to reach technical solutions, which will help build up a new future with sustainability as one of its core values.

Lucas di Grassi, driving for the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler Formula E Team won Saturday's first race in Puebla, while ROKiT Venturi's Edoardo Mortara claimed the win in the weekend's second race on Sunday.

The historic, UNESCO world heritage site of Diriyah outside the Saudi capital of Riyadh hosted the first two rounds of the Formula E World Championship earlier this season.


F1 unveils fastest street track for Saudi Grand Prix

Saudi Arabia is hosting the penultimate round of this year’s Formula 1 races in December on Jeddah’s corniche along the Red Sea shore. (Twitter/@F1)
Saudi Arabia is hosting the penultimate round of this year’s Formula 1 races in December on Jeddah’s corniche along the Red Sea shore. (Twitter/@F1)
Updated 12 July 2021

F1 unveils fastest street track for Saudi Grand Prix

Saudi Arabia is hosting the penultimate round of this year’s Formula 1 races in December on Jeddah’s corniche along the Red Sea shore. (Twitter/@F1)
  • The track will be the second longest F1 circuit, organizers say
  • It contains 27 corners, with average speeds of around 250 kmph

RIYADH: Circuit details for the inaugural Saudi Arabian Formula 1 Grand Prix have been revealed.
The Kingdom is hosting the penultimate round of this year’s F1 races along the Jeddah corniche overlooking the Red Sea on Dec. 3-5. 
The Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF) and the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile said the track would be 6.175 km, making it the second longest F1 circuit after Belgium’s Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.

The Jeddah circuit is also the fastest with 27 turns, and the average speed may reach at least 250 kmph with a top speed of 322 kmph, the federations added.
The upcoming race will be held at night under floodlights, similar to what was seen recently in the Formula E 2021 race held in Diriyah last month.
Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal said the Kingdom’s ability to host an international race the size of F1 for the first time was an extension of the great support and attention that the sports sector received from the Saudi leadership, and the “large and prominent role” of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“With this great support, we are always keen to organize such events with the highest international quality standards,” the minister said. “This is what we will strive to achieve when building and designing this circuit, which will be the second longest car-racing circuit in the world. This is what inspires us to continue to work diligently to achieve the aspirations of our leadership and our people, and to be at the forefront of these international sporting events.”

SAMF president, Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Faisal, said motorsports fans in the Kingdom would once again get to experience another global racing event.
Ross Brawn, F1’s managing director, said it was always exciting to reveal details of a new circuit, and that the Jeddah circuit had been worked on to ensure it provided a professional race for drivers and highlighted the best design in modern street racing circuits.

He also said the course had fast-paced free flowing areas for drivers to increase their speed and overtaking opportunities, in addition to its stunning location on the Red Sea coast.
“We are definitely waiting for this race, and for the world to see the details of the circuit on the ground in Saudi Arabia.”
The 2021 calendar for F1 begins on March 28 with the Bahrain Grand Prix.


Diriyah E-Prix night race will be ‘historic’ occasion: Prince Khalid

Diriyah E-Prix night race will be ‘historic’ occasion: Prince Khalid
Updated 25 February 2021

Diriyah E-Prix night race will be ‘historic’ occasion: Prince Khalid

Diriyah E-Prix night race will be ‘historic’ occasion: Prince Khalid
  • 2020-21 Formula E season opening double-header to run on Feb. 26-27

DIRIYAH: It is all systems go for the 2020-21 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship season as the first of the Diriyah E-Prix double-header of races on Friday prepares to get under starter’s orders in Riyadh.

History will once again be made when the single-seater series, given championship status by the FIA for the first time, takes place at night over the weekend.

“Formula E is back to Diriyah as the opening race of season seven, and to mark a world first, as the first ever night race in the history of Formula E,” Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Faisal, chairman of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, told a virtual press conference.

“On Feb. 26 and 27, the whole world will yet again watch the Kingdom host a global sporting spectacle, under the guidance and support of our government, one that followed every detail and offered all the leadership and support needed to ensure all logistical and health measures are applied at the highest global standards, despite the ongoing challenge that the world is facing due to (the coronavirus disease) COVID-19, and its huge impact on the sport industry,” he said.

Diriyah, the ancient UNESCO heritage site on the outskirts of Riyadh, was the first seat of power for Saudi kings, and today has quickly become home to several records in the world of motorsports.

In 2018, the site hosted the first all-electric race in the Middle East and welcomed international sports tourists for the first time. In 2019, Diriyah once again captured headlines as the iconic venue hosting the opening weekend of season six, featuring a double-header of back-to-back races for the first time. And now season seven is poised for another first under the bright lights and in the spotlight of global sporting attention.

“Hosting the race at night and utilizing the best available technology to ensure its success is a clear evidence that our leadership gives sport the utmost priority and shows the close connection between sports and the sustainable future which will be headlined by clean renewable energy. It will be a historic race,” added Prince Khalid.

Lighting the track with the latest low-consumption LED technology will reduce energy usage by up to 50 percent compared to non-LED technologies. The remaining energy needed to power the floodlighting will be fully renewable provided by high-performing low-carbon certified hydrogenated vegetable oil made from sustainable materials.

Formula E CEO, Jamie Reigle, said: “We are looking forward to the start of season seven, and what a way to start with the first ever night race.

“We had our priorities set on ensuring a safe race with all COVID-19 guidelines in place, but also focused on how we can make this year’s races even better with the high bar that the previous Diriyah E-Prix races have set.

“Of course, our utmost priority is always about sustainability and ensuring that the future of car racing is environmentally friendly. The sustainable night lights will ensure breathtaking scenes to everyone watching at home and a new, exciting experience to the teams and drivers,” he added.

Reigle described Formula E’s partnership with the Ministry of Sport and the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation as “brilliant,” and he thanked them for their support in helping to make the race become a reality.

Meanwhile, Carlo Boutagy, founder and CEO of CBX, the official race promoter, said that organizing the first night races had been an “amazing experience,” and promised memorable television viewing.

“Diriyah looks beautiful as always, the night lights are in place, the safety measures are all set and working. We can’t wait to go green in Diriyah this Friday to organize a spectacle unlike any other.

“We will surely miss the fans, but their safety comes first, so we made sure they enjoy an unmissable experience while watching the races live on KSA Sports this weekend,” Boutagy added.