Restaurants, gyms, beach football: Saudi Arabia’s first Formula 1 already changing Jeddah says race boss

Exclusive Restaurants, gyms, beach football: Saudi Arabia’s first Formula 1 already changing Jeddah says race boss
CEO of the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix Martin Whitaker
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Updated 04 November 2021

Restaurants, gyms, beach football: Saudi Arabia’s first Formula 1 already changing Jeddah says race boss

Restaurants, gyms, beach football: Saudi Arabia’s first Formula 1 already changing Jeddah says race boss

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s first Formula 1 Grand Prix will leave a legacy in Jeddah long after the chequered flag ends the race itself, the CEO of the event has vowed.

The racing world will descend on the city at the beginning of next month, with the race itself scheduled for December 5. 

Speaking to Arab News, Martin Whitaker talked up the developments the city will see as it hosts the global sporting event, including outdoor gyms, beach volleyball, beach soccer, paddle tennis, and 18 restaurants in total being built on the Jeddah Corniche promenade.

“So all these facilities are going to be here long after the Grand Prix. And so essentially, they're here 365 days of the year. So it's an extension to that community value and a real positive legacy for the city of Jeddah,” he said.

Whitaker added: “As we know many thousands of people visit the Corniche every day and every night, and this is going to allow us to lengthen the walkways and cycleways, increase the leisure opportunities.”

The race will be the first ever Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia, and around 500 million people are expected to watch its broadcast.

“This is a special event for Saudi Arabia, the first Formula One Grand Prix to take place in the Kingdom. It's a massive event not only for the city of Jeddah, but more importantly for the Kingdom as a whole,” he said. 

Whitaker believes Jeddah’s geographical location gives it an edge when it comes to hosting such events,.

“It's got fantastic heritage, great culture, fantastic community, the warmth of the Saudi people, the hospitality that they show - it’s on the shores of the Red Sea,” said Whitaker, who described it as “a fantastic advertisement for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Arab News was shown the four 2022 model Formula One cars in the logistics area of the event. 

“This is just an example of the type of activity that's already happening here. Thousands of people are already employed clearly on the construction, as well as the organization of the race,” Whitaker told Arab News.

These cars demonstrate the new aerodynamic profile that Formula One cars will have in 2022. 

“You can see they are different in their look to the current car; the rear wing is completely unique. And the idea is that this design aerodynamically is going to make the spectacle even better,” he said.

“Formula One is a fantastic global sport, as we know it's watched by millions of people every single weekend. The racing is just going to get better with this particular design of car, and this designer car will be the platform on which the new regulations will come in not just in 2022, but as we evolve the sport in the years to come,” he added.

As Formula 1 is approaching their future regulations, sustainability and environmental concerns are clearly very much at the top of the list, said Whitaker.

He explained there are new regulations coming into place in 2026 for engines.

“More hybrid engines which are going to have a greater focus on the sustainable activities that Formula One is embracing,” he said.

Pointing to the four 2022 show cars, he said they are the new designs for Formula One that will be seen on track next year. 

“These cars are more efficient and provide much better racing. And so essentially, that's what is happening from the formula one perspective from a circuit perspective, we’re very keen on sustainability,” he said.

The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is working with the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the United Nations and with the Ministry of Sport to make sure that the event is as sustainable as it possibly can be. 

“There are lots of things that we're working on. Whether it's the redevelopment of, for example, the lagoon area here on the Jeddah Corniche or many activities that we're embracing inside the circuit during the race weekend. But there's a lot to come, a lot that we're doing for the first race. We're very keen on the sustainability element of this race, and it's something I think for everybody to look out for and be proud of as we move forward into the future,” he said.


Egypt B2B marketplace Mazaya raises $5m in pre-seed round

Egypt B2B marketplace Mazaya raises $5m in pre-seed round
Updated 28 September 2022

Egypt B2B marketplace Mazaya raises $5m in pre-seed round

Egypt B2B marketplace Mazaya raises $5m in pre-seed round

RIYADH: Mazaya, an Egypt-based B2B e-commerce marketplace, raised $5 million in a pre-seed round, said a statement issued on Tuesday.

The funding round was led by financial investment firm Raya Trade and Distribution, it added.

The company will use the funds to boost its operation in Egypt as well as expand into new markets and other verticals.

“The funds raised will allow us to quickly scale our operations and expand to other markets beyond Egypt, we have plans to launch our services in Nigeria before this year-end,” Amir Aboul Fotouh, Mazaya co-founder, said.

The Mazaya App provides retailers and merchants of electronic goods and home appliances the ability to procure inventory for their stores from all major brands.

“The platform conveniently supports merchants, particularly small merchants who do not receive adequate services, with the ability to scale their business through a superior level of service and a wide range of electronic devices from all international and local brands at the click of a button,” Bassem Megahed, CEO of Raya Trade and Distribution, said in a statement.

The company also plans to offer financial services and support to their retailers by offering credit facilities and flexible payment options.


Russia to spend $55bn from rainy-day fund to cover 2022 budget gap

Russia to spend $55bn from rainy-day fund to cover 2022 budget gap
Updated 28 September 2022

Russia to spend $55bn from rainy-day fund to cover 2022 budget gap

Russia to spend $55bn from rainy-day fund to cover 2022 budget gap

MOSCOW: Russia plans to spend 3.19 trillion roubles ($54.62 billion) from its National Wealth Fund this year to cover its budget deficit, a draft budget published on the finance ministry’s website showed on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

In 2023, Russia intends to spend 1.95 trillion roubles on budget deficit financing from the NWF, a rainy-day fund made up of oil and gas revenues, and another 643.7 billion roubles in 2024.

The ministry intends to issue 2.5 trillion roubles worth of OFZ treasury bonds as it seeks to ramp up domestic borrowing in 2023, the document showed.

In 2024, the ministry plans to borrow 3.4 trillion roubles and another 3.4 trillion roubles in 2025.


MENA Project Tracker — Petrofac contract extended; ASHGHAL requests pre-qualification document 

MENA Project Tracker — Petrofac contract extended; ASHGHAL requests pre-qualification document 
Updated 28 September 2022

MENA Project Tracker — Petrofac contract extended; ASHGHAL requests pre-qualification document 

MENA Project Tracker — Petrofac contract extended; ASHGHAL requests pre-qualification document 

RIYADH: Iraq has approved a project to build a $50 million industrial city in tandem with its post-war reconstruction initiative, reported Zawya.  

Located in the center of the Najaf Governorate, the new city will stretch over 9.5 sq. km, and encompass many different industries such as petrochemicals, lubricants, glass and detergents.

“This project will provide 5,000 jobs to Iraqis and its cost could exceed $50 million…we have received cabinet approval and have already selected a contractor,” said Dirgham Kiko, chairman of the Najaf Investment Commission.

It is expected to be completed within two years.

Petrofac’s contract extended in the Haliba oil field

UK-based Petrofac will continue supporting operations at the Haliba oil field in Abu Dhabi for the next two years, according to an agreement with Al-Dhafra Petroleum — a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. Group.

Al-Dhafra Petroleum originally selected Petrofac for this contract in September 2019, reported MEED.  

ASHGHAL requests pre-qualification documents

Qatar’s Public Works Authority has requested prequalification documents for four construction contracts that make up the South of Wakrah and New District of Doha pumping station and outfall scheme, reported MEED.

The contract has been tendered since mid-August, and bids will be closed by Oct. 23.


Egypt property-tech startup Partment raises $1.5 million in a pre-seed funding round

Egypt property-tech startup Partment raises $1.5 million in a pre-seed funding round
Updated 28 September 2022

Egypt property-tech startup Partment raises $1.5 million in a pre-seed funding round

Egypt property-tech startup Partment raises $1.5 million in a pre-seed funding round

RIYADH: Egypt-based property technology startup Partment raised $1.5 million in a pre-seed funding round led by venture capital firm Nclude.

The company will use its acquired funding to deploy its platform by offering a solution for home co-ownership in Egypt.

Founded in 2022, the platform allows users to explore different listings of homes and co-own properties with 40+ nights per year to use the property.

“Partment is a new concept in Egypt, and we believe it will change how people buy and use real estate in the local and international market,” Nadim Nagui, CEO at Partment, said in a statement.


MAWANI achieves 14% increase in container volume this year

MAWANI achieves 14% increase in container volume this year
Updated 28 September 2022

MAWANI achieves 14% increase in container volume this year

MAWANI achieves 14% increase in container volume this year

RIYADH: The Saudi Ports Authority, MAWANI, has achieved an increase in the volume of handling containers during the current year by 14 percent to reach 212 million tons.

The head of the Public Transport Authority, Rumaih Al-Rumaih, said at the Saudi Maritime Conference the King Abdulaziz Port now stands 14th in the world for container volume — up from 88th.

The Kingdom’s strategic location and its view of the most important waterways for world trade contributed to the transit of 70 percent of the Kingdom’s imports and 90 percent of its exports, Al-Rumaih added. 

Meanwhile, MAWANI signed agreements to establish five logistic zones in Jeddah Islamic Port with an investment value of nearly SR2 billion ($531 million), the head of Saudi Ports Authority, Omar Al-Hariri said. 

The Kingdom has all the ingredients for success, and through the national transport strategy, we will reach a bright future, Al-Rumaih added.