SPORTS


Saudi Arabia unveils plans for F1 race in 2023

Baku, January 18, AZERTAC

Saudi Arabia has unveiled plans for a purpose-built circuit in a new entertainment and business development outside of the capital city, Riyadh, according to Motorsport Week.

The Qiddiyah circuit has been designed by ex-Formula 1 driver Alex Wurz and it's hoped it will be completed in time to host an F1 race by 2023.

Although there is no commercial agreement between F1 and those building the circuit, it's known that Saudi Arabia's sports authority and motorsports federation are actively in discussion about joining the calendar.

It had previously been rumoured that Saudi could join the calendar as early as 2021 with a street circuit in Jeddah, however this is purely speculation with no plans currently in place to do so.

Therefore Saudi's best hopes of holding an F1 race lay with this new development and chief executive officer Mike Reininger is hopeful the government will succeed in its negotiations with Liberty Media.

"We're building a facility in the hope there will be a deal struck and there is a race here in Saudi," he told the BBC.

"The formalisation of a race is not for us at Qiddiyah. It is outside the confines of the project itself. But we are building a facility that will be able to host a really world-class event as one of the signature items we will have on offer here at Qiddiyah as we open in 2023."

The track will be built to FIA Grade One standard and will therefore be capable of hosting both F1 and MotoGP.

During the launch event, several current and former drivers were present including Romain Grosjean, Nico Hulkenberg, Damon Hill, David Coulthard and former MotoGP rider Loris Capirossi.

The development is set to include a drag strip, rallycross and rally stages, a motorsport business park as well as sports stadiums, a golf course, accommodation, shopping and hotels.

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