BEIRUT (REUTERS, AFP) – Saudi Arabia will host the Formula One Grand Prix for the first time next year with a night race in Jeddah, the sport and organisers announced on Thursday (Nov 5).
“Hosting this event is part of the ‘Vision 2030’ project, with the support of our leadership and especially His Highness the Crown Prince,” Saudi sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki told a press conference, referring to the kingdom’s transformation plan.
The November race will be the third in the Middle East along with Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, subject to confirmation of the 2021 calendar.
The 2020 season had been due to feature 22 races, with Vietnam due to debut and the Dutch Grand Prix returning for the first time in 34 years, but it was reduced to 17 due to Covid-19.
Formula One has yet to publish its schedule for next year after a season hit by the pandemic, but Saudi Arabia is set to be paired with the season-ending round at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina.
“Saudi Arabia is a country that is rapidly becoming a hub for sports and entertainment with many major events taking place there in recent years and we are very pleased that Formula One will be racing there from next season,” said F1 chairman Chase Carey in a statement.
“The region is hugely important to us and with 70% of the population of Saudi being under 30 we are excited about the potential to reach new fans and bring our existing fans around the world exciting racing from an incredible and historic location.”