Saudi F-1 Event: More than a Winner – Motorsports

When Formula One debuts in Saudi Arabia later this year, it will be an important step for the country. (Red Bull photo)

If everything goes according to plan and COVID-19 is thwarted, the historic Saudi port city of Jeddah will have its first F1 racing event in Saudi Arabia in the fall of 2021.

For Saudi Arabia, this is not just a race. In recent years, automotive events have become part of plans to diversify the economy from a clear reliance on oil. Beyond that, races and other sporting events throughout the kingdom have relaxed once strict gender norms and opened up new places for women.

Until 2018, women were banned from driving in the country. Still, Saudi Arabia’s current obsession with motorsport events isn’t just about putting women on the steering wheel or adding Saudi Arabia to the stands of world-class sporting events. It is just as important as having Saudi citizens participate in closed-door workshops used in automotive engineering and industry-wide executive meetings.

“These things were unprecedented in the past, but they are happening now. [in Saudi Arabia].. They also have the support of athletes and their families. Things are changing … and we need to take the right steps and make sure they change at the right time and in the right way to make sure it’s sustainable. ” In an interview with Arab News, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Sport Abdullah Zizbin Turki Alfaisal said.

He put autosport at the center of these changes in an Arab News interview. Saudi Arabia was the third country in the Middle East to host an F1 event in the United Arab Emirates after Bahrain and Abduba. Conversely, it was the first time in the region that a Formula E event was held in 2018. Both events play an important role in economic diversification and women’s empowerment in line with Saudi Vision 2030 (the national long-term development plan).

“I saw my first tourist visa for Formula E in 2018. I saw a live concert. I saw a big social change. Part of this change is the ongoing development that is happening in the kingdom. The prince believes in the power of life-changing sports in the kingdom, “said Turki Alfaisal.

Recently, Saudi state-owned oil company ARAMCO has announced plans to help fund the F-1 in Schools contest in Melbourne, Australia. This is just one of the ways F1 racing is seen as an opportunity for the development of the kingdom. At the F-1 in Schools event, most school kids are interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subjects, using what essentially understands the thrills of auto racing. I will ask you. At this event, school children (ages 11-19, depending on jurisdiction) will be grouped into small groups competing for model cars.

The F-1 in Schools contest is also held in Saudi Arabia, but Saudi Arabia has never participated in F1 events or hosted the “F-1 in Schools” championship. However, Saudi Arabia held its first event in Dyria last year in connection with a Formula E event with similar goals.

FIA Girls on Track, the world’s first Formula E event with Saudi Arabian girls as a way to raise interest in STEM careers.

The program included a partnership between the Rokit Venturi Racing Team Principal Susie Wolff and Jaguar Racing’s Reamer Jufari. Notably, Juffali is the first Saudi woman to compete as a racing driver at both Formula E events and other events in the region. A time when women were banned from driving in Saudi Arabia after driving for the first time in Boston. She soon decided to focus on driving as a competitive sport.

“Holding this event in Saudi Arabia with the famous Ad Diriyah E-Prix is ​​a big step towards promoting gender equality in our industry and we hope it will be adopted by ASNs in the region. “Michele Mouton, President of FIA Women, said. At the motor sports committee at that time.

Saudi Arabia will host another ePrix event in Dyria in February. Last year, women also participated in the Saudi Dakar Rally. Hundreds of vehicles of all shapes and sizes are currently shipping from France to Saudi Arabia in time for the launch of a reduced version of the Paris-Dakar Rally in early January. Saudi Arabia hosted the event for the first time last year. This year’s version was expected to include neighboring countries, perhaps Jordan and Egypt, but was reduced due to the coronavirus.

Historical changes aside, there are other reasons why the automotive world is constantly monitoring Saudi Arabia. In particular, Saudi Arabia is the largest automobile market in the Middle East, selling automobiles and auto parts, accounting for 40% of total sales in the region.

– Motorsports

Saudi F-1 Event: More than a Winner Saudi F-1 Event: More than a Winner

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