According to Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al Faisal, the head of the Saudi Automobile & Motorcycle Federation, Saudi Arabia is open to hosting two Formula One races each season in the future.
In-depth details about Saudi Arabia likely having an idea of hosting two F1 races
The third Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will take place this weekend in Jeddah, but construction of the nation’s second Formula One track in Qiddiya has already begun.
The Qiddiya track, which is a part of a larger construction project 40 kilometres from Riyadh, was once intended to replace Jeddah but is not scheduled to be ready for racing until 2027. Prince Khalid asserted that there may be two races annually if Saudi Arabia were to host two F1 tracks.
It is feasible, according to Prince Khalid, for Saudi Arabia to have two races. “F1 is expanding, there is a high demand for it, and since Saudi Arabia is so large, the regions are spread out far apart, similar to the United States.
“The United States has three races because there is a large market and demand for them. There is a demand, but no choice has been made.
“There are many factors to take into account, and I’m not sure if hosting two races here would be practical or realistic for FOM and the teams.
“Theoretically, sure, we can hold two races because this track (Jeddah) was made to survive. As both the sport and the demand are expanding, I wouldn’t be shocked if Saudi Arabia hosted two races in the near future.
There is a demand, and we have two lovely facilities.
When asked if Saudi Arabia and F1 were in contact regarding a second event, he added: “No, it’s too soon. It’s too early to draw conclusions, but from what I can see, both F1 and Saudi Arabia are growing. As I mentioned earlier, Saudi Arabia is a very large nation with the most populous and robust economy.
“There are many factors to take into account, but I’m confident that the Saudis would welcome a race in Qiddiya or Jeddah if we offered two races. According to what I’m seeing and what is planned for Qiddiya, even if that occurs, there will be two distinct races, and they will be two separate distinct races.
“If you’re going to have two separate locations, different regions, I’m sure if you’re going to do it, it’s going to be two different… I’m referring to one at the start and one at the end. Although it’s too early for this, I wouldn’t be shocked.”
The first race of the 2024 season has also been linked to Saudi Arabia in order to avoid a conflict with the holy month of Ramadan, which will take place from March 10 to April 8. The debut race of Formula One will take place in either Bahrain or Saudi Arabia, according to Prince Khalid, because of the scheduling.
Ramadan will be a problem because it moves forward by about 10 or 11 days each year, he said. “After Ramadan, the temperature is hot in April and May, so only one of us—probably Saudi Arabia or Bahrain—will be able to have a race.
“Thus, March is the last month with favourable weather. Bahrain used to have races in April, but the weather was too hot. Hence, it will either be us or Bahrain, but as I mentioned, we need to talk with FOM and the teams before we decide.
If not, it will move to a later date, such as October or after October, when the weather in our area starts to improve.