Tickets for F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix open for booking 

Tickets for F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix open for booking 
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Updated 03 December 2022

Tickets for F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix open for booking 

Tickets for F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix open for booking 
  • Saudi Arabia is one of the newest places on the Formula 1 calendar

JEDDAH: The Saudi Motorsport Company, the promoter of Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2023, offered access on Friday to early ticket packages for the third race of STC Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix — the second round of the F1 world championship — to be staged on the Jeddah Corniche circuit from March 17-19, 2023.

As of Friday, local and international audiences can pre-book tickets for 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on www.saudiarabiangp.com.

Early booking ticket holders will enjoy a discount of up to 10 percent for the premium hospitality category, and a 30 percent discount for the main stands and general admission category. This offer will be valid until the first week of January 2023 with a limited number of seats.

Saudi Arabia is one of the newest places on the Formula 1 calendar, as it hosted its first race in December 2021, and its second one after only four months in March 2022. 

In the first race, the competition intensified between Red Bull driver Max Verstappen and Mercedes driver and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, ending in a hard-fought victory for the Mercedes driver and both equal on points one round before the end of the season.

The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2022 had Verstappen winning after a fierce competition with Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, who took the lead for most of the race until Verstappen managed to overtake him three laps before the finish line.


Victory for Pascal Werhlein and Porsche on day one of Diriyah E-Prix

Pascal Wehrlein of the TAG Heuer Porsche team stormed from ninth to win the first of two races at the Diriyah E-Prix
Pascal Wehrlein of the TAG Heuer Porsche team stormed from ninth to win the first of two races at the Diriyah E-Prix
Updated 28 January 2023

Victory for Pascal Werhlein and Porsche on day one of Diriyah E-Prix

Pascal Wehrlein of the TAG Heuer Porsche team stormed from ninth to win the first of two races at the Diriyah E-Prix
  • Wehrlein looked the quickest on the track as he picked his way through the points-paying positions to the front of the pack

DIRIYAH: Pascal Wehrlein of the TAG Heuer Porsche team stormed from ninth to win the first of two races at the Diriyah E-Prix, with standings leader Jake Dennis of Avalanche Andretti Formula E following home in second after starting in 11th.

Wehrlein looked the quickest on the track as he picked his way through the points-paying positions to the front of the pack.

The move for the lead came on lap 30 at turn 16, with Sam Bird in the Jaguar TCS Racing car unable to hold back Wehrlein’s 99X Electric Gen3.

Both driver and car looked dominant for a second straight race. It was an emotional win for the 28-year-old, who once again credited his team with a monumental amount of work off-track to get things so right on it.

Jake Dennis in the Porsche-powered Avalanche Andretti took the fight all the way to the line with his factory Porsche counterpart from all the way back in 11th on the grid, but he couldn't find a way beyond Wehrlein — who sealed his second Formula E win on his 50th start.

 

 

The result was a reversal of the one-two we saw two weeks ago in the 2023 Hankook Mexico City E-Prix — and both TAG Heuer Porsche and Avalanche Andretti look to have thrown down the challenge to the rest of the field as the GEN3 development race continues at pace.

Sam Bird was overjoyed to make the podium for the first time since winning in New York City in Season 7 — calling it a "mini victory" for himself and Jaguar after a tough Season 8 for the Brit — the only season he has failed to claim Formula E silverware.

Sebastian Buemi started in pole position and finished in fourth, his best finish since the Season 6 finale in Berlin.

NEOM McLaren Formula E Team’s René Rast started fifth and ended fifth following a long battle in middle of the points-paying positions. He also sealed the TAG Heuer Fastest Lap.

Nick Cassidy made it two Envision Racing cars in the top six. Jean-Éric Vergne fought from 12th to the points for DS PENSKE, winding up just ahead of Jake Hughes in the sister McLaren. André Lotterer and Mitch Evans rounded out the top 10 - the latter slipping from sixth on the grid.

That leaves Dennis as standings leader at just a point over Werhlein — 44 to 43 points — while Avalanche Andretti retain their Teams' advantage over TAG Heuer Porsche, 58 to 49 points, with Envision Racing third.

Formula E’s return to Diriyah, a historical and cultural destination in Saudi Arabia, marks a groundbreaking move as it continues to prioritise sustainability and shift the paradigm in the sports industry.


Second edition of Rally Jameel set to start in AlUla

Second edition of Rally Jameel set to start in AlUla
Updated 27 January 2023

Second edition of Rally Jameel set to start in AlUla

Second edition of Rally Jameel set to start in AlUla
  • More than 50 all-female teams will rally for five days using skill, determination and grit

JEDDAH: On Tuesday, March 7, the second edition of Rally Jameel will kick off with the tech inspection and registration at AlUla. 

Fifty teams will take part in the off-road rally in Saudi Arabia — the first all-women off-road navigation rally.

With a 1,600 km route that starts in AlUla and ends in Qassim via Hail, the rally is focused on testing navigation and skills on a route that varies between 300 to 500 km per day over the course of five days. The route will feature checkpoints and navigation through heritage sites, with exciting details to unfold.

The endurance competition is based on precision driving and navigating — not the fastest speed — using maps, compasses, roadbooks, and strategy.

This year, teams hail from 11 countries. Each team consists of a driver, navigator, and their vehicle, with no support crews allowed.

The rally is being held under the patronage of Princess Reema bint Bandar, the Kingdom’s ambassador to the US, and under the umbrella of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation with recognition from the FIA Women in Motorsport Committee.

A press conference held on Wednesday at Hussain Jameel Hall was attended by Munir Khoja, managing director of marketing communication at Abdul Latif Jameel Motors, Abdullah Bakhashab, organizer of Rally Jameel, and other event participants.

Khoja told Arab News that this year’s edition is going to be different in terms of distance and days.

“Our valued proposition at Abdul Latif Jameel is ‘Take on Tomorrow,’ which means tomorrow will not happen if you don’t begin,” Khoja said. “We prepared a platform for all women to begin and that’s what Rally Jameel achieved in its first edition, when we had new female drivers who had never before engaged in any races, and as a result we have witnessed more than four participants (turn) professional … and took part in various local and regional rallies. So, this is what Rally Jameel is all about.”

He said Rally Jameel aims to encourage more women to get involved in motorsport and rallying, and recognizes that a modern nation must encourage and empower all members of society in all forms, including sport.

Bakhashab told Arab News: “The second edition of Rally Jameel coincides with International Women’s Day, which affirms our commitment to empowering women and honing the potential of the next generation of leaders and athletes. 

“This year’s track will be extended to 1,600 km, crossing AlUla, Hail and Qassim. The first day of the event on March 7 will cover team registrations, followed by the AlUla stage on March 8, with participants moving on to the AlUla-Hail stage on March 9, followed by Hail-Hail on March 10, and finally to Hail-Qassim on March 11.”

In her message via video from Washington, Princess Reema praised organizers for offering the participants an opportunity to demonstrate their determination and skill.

During the press conference, Saudi driver Maha Al-Hamly, who finished third in last year’s Rally Jameel, shared her success story and described it as a turning point of her life.

The first edition of Rally Jameel was designed to follow road and off-road routes that started from Hail to Qassim and on to Riyadh for over three days and 1,000 km. With over 34 teams from 15 countries, several well-known rally racers and motorsports champions were involved, alongside emerging entrants who had their first motorsports experience.

Since 1997, Abdul Latif Jameel Motors has been committed to creating opportunities and bolstering Saudi Arabia’s motorsports scene. Offering a world-class sporting event, Rally Jameel is the perfect opportunity for adventurous women with a passion for motorsports and off-roading.


‘New teams, new brand’: Formula E CEO Jamie Reigle looks ahead to Diriyah E-Prix double-header

‘New teams, new brand’: Formula E CEO Jamie Reigle looks ahead to Diriyah E-Prix double-header
Updated 27 January 2023

‘New teams, new brand’: Formula E CEO Jamie Reigle looks ahead to Diriyah E-Prix double-header

‘New teams, new brand’: Formula E CEO Jamie Reigle looks ahead to Diriyah E-Prix double-header
  • Reigle talks exclusively to Arab News about Season 9, the new Gen3 car and what the future holds for the all-electric series

DUBAI: In the end, it proved all right on the night.

Almost 40,000 raucous fans turned up to welcome Formula E’s Gen3 era in Mexico City two weeks ago, and this weekend Riyadh will host the Diriyah E-Prix double-header.

“Mexico was fantastic,” Formula E CEO Jamie Reigle said. “I guess I have to start by saying there’s no denying that there was a pretty high degree of anxiety as we came into the race, for a host of reasons. First of all, it’s the first race to the season, so inevitably it’s a mix of excited emotions and anxious emotions.

“We’re talking top tier sport drivers, team principals, the manufacturers that want to win — so good that sense of anticipation, but this year that was ramped up, because it’s a brand new car, Gen3, which is a big leap forward.

“And we really push the limits in terms of the car,” he added. “We reduced the weight by 60 kg, we increased the power by 100 kilowatts, a lot of changes under the hood, so to speak, as well as new tires and a new battery. So there were some pretty well cataloged challenges that the teams faced in the testing period.”

After four successful years of Gen2, Formula E seems to have been given a reboot.

“From a purely commercial perspective, we launched our new brand identity,” Reigle said. “We had three new teams coming in, you had Maserati joining, in partnership with Monaco Sports Group, you had McLaren coming in, and then Cupra, coming back with the ABT team. New teams, new brands, just everything was new, and it was really successful.”

On Friday and Saturday the action moves to Saudi Arabia with rounds 2 and 3 of Formula E Season 9 taking place under the lights in Diriyah, increasingly a favorite destination for the drivers.

“I was at dinner last night — we did a charity fundraiser, gala dinner, and I was at the table with Andre Lotterer (of Avalanche Andretti),” said Reigle. “I wasn’t trying to tee him up. We had a group of guests and I asked ‘Andre, so what’s your favorite circuit in Formula E and motorsport?’ This guy has won Le Mans three times and raced in a lot of places. Without skipping a beat, he said Diriyah. It’s fast, high-speed corners, it’s really challenging to drive. The setting is amazing and it’s a night race, and sport, especially the electric cars and motorsport, just looks cool at night.

“The drivers love it.”

Reigle’s first race as CEO was Diriyah in 2019, and he has overseen the sport’s growth in the ensuing three years, which, of course, included the COVID-19 pandemic.

The future, he says, “is electric.”

Reigle added: “If you think about sports that didn’t exist 20, 30 years ago, and are big today, there’s very, very few. There’s really only one that has broken into the top, top tier, and it’s probably UFC. It was started in the 90s, kind of bubbled around, and then it got bigger and bigger.

“And Formula E has that opportunity,” he added. “We’ve got the top drivers, we’ve got a lot of the top manufacturers and teams — all the conditions are there. We’ve got these great venues. The question is do we have the fan base?”

The turnout in Mexico — “a big moment” — as well as the Gen3 car and changes in racing format, would suggest that increasingly, Formula E does.

Then there is the stellar lineup of drivers.

“People want to watch the best compete against the best,” Reigle said. “The good news for Formula E is that we already have a very high caliber of stars. Because of the way we grew up, we don’t have pay drivers, we don’t have guys whose dad owns the team. It’s all top tier professionals — guys who have won Le Mans, who have been in Formula One, who have won in DTM and who built their careers in Formula E.”

Reigle highlighted the career path of Dutch driver Nyck De Vries — Formula E champion in 2021 and now signed to Formula One’s Scuderia AlphaTauri — as an example of the high standards in electric racing. Other examples are Mitch Evans and Jake Dennis, the winner in Mexico City.

“Last year we did Indonesia for the first time and we had 60,000 people,” said Reigle. “MotoGP, that’s their only really international sporting event, now we’re adding to that. So you’ve got these big opportunities in emerging markets.

“This year we’re adding Hyderabad, Cape Town — we’re heading to Sao Paulo and Portland. Those are big markets that we’re going to open up, which is really exciting.

“If in three years, we’re not adding a few more cities, I’ll be disappointed.”


Formula E stars meet top footballers from Saudi champions Al-Hilal ahead of Diriyah E-Prix

Formula E stars meet top footballers from Saudi champions Al-Hilal ahead of Diriyah E-Prix
Updated 25 January 2023

Formula E stars meet top footballers from Saudi champions Al-Hilal ahead of Diriyah E-Prix

Formula E stars meet top footballers from Saudi champions Al-Hilal ahead of Diriyah E-Prix
  • Sam Bird, Rene Rast and Jake Hughes joined Salem Al-Dawsari and Salman Al-Faraj during a training session in Riyadh

RIYADH: Formula E racing drivers Sam Bird, Rene Rast and Jake Hughes met some of Saudi Arabia’s biggest football heroes ahead of the 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix this weekend.

Rast and Hughes from NEOM McLaren Formula E team and Bird from Jaguar TCS Racing joined a training session in Riyadh for a kickabout with reigning Saudi Pro League champions and 18-time winners Al-Hilal.

The drivers got a chance to test their skills alongside the club’s first-team players including Saudi Arabia international Salem Al-Dawsari, who scored the winner in the country’s 2-1 win against Argentina at the FIFA 2022 World Cup. They also met Saudi Arabia’s national captain Salman Al-Faraj.

The 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix is a double-header of races in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship this Friday and Saturday. Rounds two and three take place on a street circuit surrounding the UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the most picturesque locations on the 16-race calendar, and the only night races of the season.

Fans attending the 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix will get their first look at the all-new GEN3 for the first time — the fastest, lightest, most powerful and efficient electric race car ever built. Capable of 200 mph (322 kph), the 22 drivers will push the world’s most advanced electric racing car to the limit as they navigate the 21-turn, 2.495-kilometer circuit.

As well as enjoying the on-track action, fans will get to enjoy performances from artists John Legend, French Montana, Miguel and DJ Martin Garrix who will be performing post-race concerts over the weekend.


Lewis Hamilton recalls bullying, racial abuse during school years

Lewis Hamilton recalls bullying, racial abuse during school years
Updated 24 January 2023

Lewis Hamilton recalls bullying, racial abuse during school years

Lewis Hamilton recalls bullying, racial abuse during school years
  • The F1 great described how racial abuse continued during his school years, along with the utter isolation and confusion he felt

LONDON: Formula One great Lewis Hamilton experienced bullying when he was only 6 years old and said he had bananas thrown at him when he was racially abused at school.

The seven-time champion, who is the only Black driver in F1, called his schooldays the most traumatic of times.

“For me, school was probably the most traumatizing and most difficult part of my life,” Hamilton said in an interview for the On Purpose podcast, which was released Monday. “I already was being bullied at the age of 6 ... I think at the time, (at) that particular school, I was probably one of three kids of color and just bigger, stronger, bullying kids were throwing me around a lot of the time.”

Born and educated in Stevenage, England, Hamilton described how racial abuse continued during his school years, along with the utter isolation and confusion he felt.

“And then constant jabs (jibes), the things that are thrown at you, like bananas, people that would use the N-word just so relaxed. People calling you half-caste and just really not knowing where you fit in,” the 38-year-old Hamilton told the podcast show. “That for me was difficult, and then when you go into history class and everything you learn in history there are no people of color in the history they were teaching us. So I was thinking, ‘Where are the people who look like me?’”

Hamilton said even figures of authority would pick on him.

“There were only around six or seven black kids out of 1,200 kids and three of us were put outside the headmaster’s office all the time,” he said. “The headmaster just had it out for us and particularly for me I would say.

“I was put in all the lowest sets at school and told that if you do well you can progress. They never ever let me progress, no matter how hard I tried,” Hamilton added. “I really felt the system was up against me and I was swimming against the tide.”

Hamilton said he felt the bitter pain of exclusion, even at recreation times.

“I was always the last picked, you know when you are standing in a line, when they are picking teams for football (soccer). I was always the last one chosen or not even chosen. Even if I was better than somebody else,” he said. “Just juggling all these emotions that you’re feeling, plus I struggled at school. I didn’t find out until I was 16 that I was dyslexic.”

Hamilton described how he bottled up his pain and put on a brave face when he got home.

“There were a lot of things that I suppressed. I didn’t feel I could go home and tell my parents that these kids kept calling me the N-word today, (that) I got bullied, beaten up at school today, or I wasn’t able to defend myself,” he said. “I didn’t want my dad to think I was not strong and so if I had tears I would hold them back, if I had emotions it would be in a quiet place. It wasn’t really until I started racing that I was able to channel this emotion that I had into my driving.”

Hamilton is F1’s record-holder with 103 Grand Prix wins and 103 pole positions, and shares the record for most F1 titles with fellow great Michael Schumacher. The Mercedes star, who did not win a Grand Prix last season, begins his quest for an eighth F1 title when the season begins in Bahrain on March 5.

In recent years, Hamilton has distinguished himself away from the track, campaigning tirelessly to fight racism and urging others in F1 to speak out more.

Hamilton set up “The Hamilton Commission” to improve F1′s diversity, and has also been outspoken on human rights abuses in countries where F1 goes racing.

Last year, Hamilton said ” archaic mindsets ” have to change after retired champion Nelson Piquet reportedly used a racial slur against him.