Will Saudi Arabia soon have a second F1 Grand Prix?

Will Saudi Arabia’s place in F1 get even stronger in the future? In addition to Aramco’s very significant investment in sport (partnership with Aston Martin F1, with the FOM, development of new renewable fuel), the country also has a Grand Prix in Jeddah.

Will there soon be… two on the calendar? Logically, Jeddah’s time is running out: a new circuit is under construction in the futuristic city (itself under construction) of Qiddiya, in the Riyadh region.

Jeddah was always planned as a waiting race, to plug the holes before the arrival of Qiddiya (now won in 2027).

But for the President of the Saudi Motorsport Company, Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Abdullah Al-Faisal, there would be room for two Saudi Grands Prix on the calendar, so that Jeddah also keeps its place.

First of all, the date of 2027 is not even certain anymore for Qiddiya entrusts the Prince…

“We are thinking of going there in 2027 and 2028. The reactions of the FOM and people who watch the car racing… they love the circuit. »

“The circuit is in the center of Qiddiya. They are redoing the overall plans because things are changing in these kinds of big projects. »

“We cannot build a circuit when we are surrounded by construction sites. Part of the circuit passes inside the city. It’s a permanent circuit, but part of it is inside the city, next to hotels and other things, so it’s a hybrid between a permanent circuit and an urban layout. »

“There will be hotels, parks, lots of things around. We cannot complete the circuit and move the race to Qiddiya while there is still construction all around. So we want to go there when the project, the city, is finished. »

And even when Quddiya is finished, the Prince therefore believes that Saudi Arabia will be strong enough to be able to host two Grands Prix in the long term.

“Saudi Arabia is a very big market, we have a strong economy. The idea of ​​having two races in Saudi Arabia is feasible. »

“F1 is growing, there is a lot of demand here and as Saudi Arabia is a big country, the regions are very far apart, it’s like the United States. »

“There are three races in the United States because the market there is big and there is a demand. The demand is there [mais] the decision is not made. »

Has contact already been made with the FOM to assess this hypothesis of cohabitation? The Prince evokes two Grands Prix in the same year, not an alternation of circuits…

“There are a lot of things we need to take into account and I don’t know if we want to host two races here, is it practical and feasible for FOM and the teams? »

“We built these circuits to last, so in theory, yes, we can have two races. The sport is growing, the demand is increasing, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Saudi Arabia in the near future hosts two races, I wouldn’t be surprised. »

“The demand is there and we have two magnificent infrastructures. »

The opening race in Jeddah next year?

In the much shorter term, Jeddah would seek to open the calendar next year, in place of Bahrain.

Indeed, Ramadan 2024 will take place from March 11 to April 10 – which will prevent the holding of a Grand Prix in Jeddah. At the very beginning of March, however, this will be possible.

Can the Saudi Prince confirm that Jeddah is on track to open the season next year?

” It is a bit early. »

“We would like to have the opening race, and I’m sure that’s something we should discuss now before the schedule is announced. »

“We want to know the reactions of the teams because we want the best for FOM and the best for the teams. If this is the best solution, we would like to have the opening race, but nothing is fixed for the moment. »

“After Ramadan, it is hot in April and May, and March is the last period when the weather is favorable. We saw that when the races were held in April in Bahrain, it was too hot. »

“But we have to discuss with the FOM and the teams, then we will make our decisions. Otherwise, the race will take place later, in October or after, when the weather starts to improve in our area. »

Will Saudi Arabia soon have a second F1 Grand Prix?