From setting sail to its first cruise, to new unprecedented labor reforms, Saudi Arabia is practically making history every single day. The upcoming year will witness yet another historical moment, as the Kingdom is set to host its first Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
While no specific dates have been announced, the event will be taking place on the streets of Jeddah in 2021. According to initial plans, it will take shape in the form of a night race on a street track, celebrating the picturesque Jeddah corniche on the west coast of the country. However, it is expected that the Grand Prix will move to a purpose-built circuit in the future.
View this post on Instagram
“No matter where in the world it’s held, Formula 1 is an event that brings people together to celebrate an occasion that goes far beyond sport,” stated the Minister of Sport, his Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki AlFaisal Al Saud. “We look forward to sharing this unique experience and sharing Jeddah with the world. For many Saudis this will be a dream come true.”
The move will see Saudi Arabia become the third Middle Eastern country to join the calendar alongside Bahrain and the UAE. But the nation is no stranger to motorsport. In fact, it’s already home to FIA Formula E and Dakar Rally races and is set to host Extreme E in 2021.
Previously, the Kingdom had quite a presence in Formula 1 across the globe with major sponsorship deals. In 1978, the national airline Saudia invested in the British racing team Williams and witnessed the team’s first world championship win in 1980 with Alan Jones. Currently, Saudi Aramco—the world’s leading integrated energy and chemicals company—is a global F1 partner.
“We are excited to welcome Saudi Arabia to Formula 1 for the 2021 season and welcome their announcement following speculation in recent days. 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”, added Chase Carey, chairman and CEO of F1.