Saudi races counter criticism with racing action
Formula 1 will visit Saudi Arabia for the first time in 2021. That causes criticism. After all, the route should deliver a spectacle.
The Formula 1 team bosses are diplomatic. For example, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says: “I was in Riyadh for Formula E and I was impressed by the changes I saw. As a visitor, you certainly never know how things are going. But from what I’ve seen personally, I can only say that it was a great event without any separation, with women and men in the same place enjoying the sport together. “
The Formula 1 team bosses are diplomatic.
© S. Etherington
The second wave of criticism concerns sports. The Saudi Arabia GP is driven in the dark on a street circuit in Jeddah, a port city on the Red Sea. If you ignore city races in parks like Melbourne and Montreal, Riyadh will be the fourth street circuit – after Monaco, Singapore and Baku.
Certainly: Monaco has a long tradition, GP races were held here as early as the 1930s. The Singapore GP has flair because it was the first night race in history in 2008. But Baku is so far the only street circuit on which you can really overtake.
But the Saudi Arabia course should also offer racing action. Khalid Bin Sultan Al Faisal, President of the Motorsport Federation of Saudi Arabia: “We want to make an exciting race possible. We want a track where the drivers can overtake. A Formula 1 race should offer a spectacle. So we will lay the foundation for this. Racing is paramount, not the scenery. “
From 2023, Formula 1 may then move to a permanent racetrack in Saudi Arabia. Ex-Formula 1 driver Alexander Wurz and his company are currently designing a track in Quiddiya, southwest of Riyadh.