F1 confirms first-ever Saudi Arabia grand prix for 2021

Saudi Arabia will host its biggest ever sporting event when it stages its inaugural F1 grand prix next year.

The city of Jeddah will host the first Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in November 2021 following the signing of a long-term partnership between Formula 1 and the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF).

The event will take place on Jeddah’s corniche, which runs along the banks of the Red Sea, providing a coastal backdrop for a full weekend of live motorsport, entertainment and culture that will take over the second biggest city in Saudi Arabia.

The race will be run on a street track, however there are plans for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to move to a purpose-built circuit at some point in the future.

“We are excited to welcome Saudi Arabia to Formula 1 for the 2021 season and welcome their announcement following speculation in recent days,” said Chase Carey, chairman and chief executive of Formula 1.

“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 1 will be racing there from next season.

“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. We will be publishing our full provisional 2021 calendar in the coming weeks and this will be submitted to the World Motor Sport Council for approval.”

In 2018, when Riyadh hosted Formula E, there were live music concerts and entertainment alongside the racing action, with over 40,000 people attending each of the three nights.

Qiddiya Investment Company (QIC) has said its motorsport venue (pictured above) that is being developed as part of a vast sports and entertainment resort in Saudi Arabia will be ready in 2023, adding that it hopes to be part of talks to bring Formula 1 to the country.

In June 2019, QIC unveiled the masterplan for its sports and entertainment resort, with the ‘Giga Project’ to feature a 20,000-seat cliff-top stadium, an 18,000-seat multi-purpose indoor arena, and other facilities Almamoun Alshinghiti, executive director of sports, told TheStadiumBusiness.com in July 2019 will make it the “motorsports capital of the world”.

The rest of the F1 calendar for 2021 has yet to be confirmed.

Image: F1