Saudi Arabia ‘would not be surprised’ to host two F1 races

Saudi Arabia ‘would not be surprised’ to host two F1 races

Formula 1

Saudi Arabia ‘would not be surprised’ to host two F1 races


It would not be a surprise to see the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix remain in Jeddah and be added to with another race in the country, according to the chairman of the Saudi Motorsport Company.

Saudi Arabia joined the Formula 1 calendar at the end of 2021 with the penultimate race of the season being held at the semi-permanent Jeddah Corniche Circuit before the event took up a slot at the start of the year. The Jeddah track was originally intended to be a temporary home while a permanent circuit is constructed in Qiddiya (pictured above in an artistic rendering), but HRH Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal says both could end up with a race.

“Saudi Arabia is a very big market — we have a strong economy,” he said. “The idea of having two races in Saudi is doable. F1 is growing, there is a lot of demand here and because Saudi is big, the regions are so far away, it’s like the (United) States. You have three races in the States because the market is big there and there is a demand.

“The demand is there, the decision is not made. There’s a lot of things that we need to consider and I don’t know if even we want to host two races here — is it practical and feasible for FOM and the teams? We built this track (Jeddah) to last, so in theory, yes we can have two races. The sport is growing, the demand is growing, so I would not be surprised if Saudi, in the near future, will host two races. The demand is there and we have two beautiful facilities.”

The second facility is not yet in operation, with Qiddiya originally planned to be the home from 2026 but now looking set to be up to five years away from completion.

“Qiddiya, just to give you a small idea about it, it’s a big entertainment city. The track is at the center of Qiddiya… they are re-doing the masterplans because things change on these big projects. We can’t just build a track and we are surrounded by construction sites.

“It’s a permanent circuit but part of it is inside the city, beside hotels and more, so it’s like a hybrid between a permanent and a street circuit. There’s going to be hotels, there’s going to be parks, there’s going to be a lot of things around it. We can’t just finish the track and we move the race to Qiddiya while it’s a construction site.

“So we want to go there when the project, the city, is completed. This will take longer than maybe expected — we think we will go there in ’27 or ’28. The feedback from FOM and the people who watch the race, they love the track (in Jeddah). It’s a very fast track and it’s in a good location, it’s next to the sea and you guys in the media, you have a really good view.

“We invested a lot in the infrastructure so we’re not in a rush to move. We want to take our time, we want to make Qiddiya right — we want it to be a very special track, a very special location. So we’re taking our time in Jeddah before we move to Qiddiya.”

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