The Formula One governing body has announced that for the first time in history, that F1 will visit Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for a nighttime race in 2021. The announcement was made this past Thursday with F1 confirming they have agreed to a deal with the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation that is expected to be a “long-term partnership”.
The first race will be held on a street circuit in Jeddah. However, there are plans in place for the race to be moved to a newly built track in Qiddiya for the 2023 season. There were rumours amongst team owners last month that the event was on the provisional calendar for next season but had yet to be confirmed.
Saudi Arabia Grand Prix Race to be held in November 2021
The announcement also confirmed that the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix Race will be held in November and is expected to take place a week after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. While Formula One has yet to release next years calendar, it is likely to come within the next few weeks.
Aramco, a Saudi state energy giant, became a major partner in Formula One in March of this year and has since sponsored three Grand Prix races during the 2020 season. The 2021 race will be the second race on the F1 circuit to take place at night, with the other being held in Singapore.
The Chairman and CEO of F1, Chase Carey released a statement that stated: “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.”
After a season that saw multiple challenges for team owners in Formula One, the added race is good news. The pandemic era saw a host of races being postponed or outright cancelled as the world struggled and came to terms with the risks associated with large crowd gatherings for sporting events such as an F1 race.
Whether next season will see a return to a full schedule is unknown, but it is likely that will be the case after the governing body adopted safety measures to protect owners, drivers and support crew.