Motorsport fans around the world, and particularly in Saudi Arabia, will look forward to the first-ever Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, taking place in Jeddah on the weekend of Dec. 3-5, 2021.
The new date comes following Formula 1’s decision to postpone the start of this year’s season amid ongoing international travel restrictions, and as a result, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, which was initially scheduled for Nov. 26-28, have been pushed back a week after Formula 1 announced a revised calendar for the 2021 season.
That has meant moving its traditional season-opening Australian Grand Prix from March to November, meaning all races thereafter have moved back a week. The 2021 calendar will now begin with the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 28.
Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF) President Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Abdullah Al Faisal said: “We are still more than ten months away from lights out on the first ever Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, and while anticipation is already at fever pitch, I am sure Saudi Arabia’s passionate race fans can wait one week longer for the race so many of us have already waited our whole lives for!
“We fully understand and agree with Formula 1’s decision to rework the 2021 season calendar. While the revision does mean changing the dates of our Jeddah street race, it doesn’t do anything to quell the excitement and expectation around what promises to be a thrilling Saudi Arabian Grand Prix held at the deciding end of the season.
“We look forward to welcoming the world to Jeddah Dec. 3-5, 2021.”
In a statement posted on the Formula 1 website, Stefano Domenicali, president and CEO of Formula 1, said: “It has been a busy start to the year at Formula 1, and we are pleased to confirm that the number of races planned for the season remains unchanged.
“The global pandemic has not yet allowed life to return to normal, but we showed in 2020 that we can race safely as the first international sport to return, and we have the experience and plans in place to deliver on our season.
“Obviously, the virus situation remains fluid, but we have the experience from last season with all our partners and promoters to adapt accordingly and safely in 2021.”
Saudi Arabia’s inaugural F1 race is the first in a long-term partnership between Formula 1 and the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation. It will take place on Jeddah’s corniche along the banks of the Red Sea and bring with it a full weekend of live motorsport, entertainment and culture that promises to thrill Saudis and visitors alike.
Being the penultimate race of the season, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is also strategically placed to be a season defining contest.
Formula 1 is the latest international mega-event to commit to the Kingdom and will climax a thrilling year of live motorsport in Saudi Arabia, with the Kingdom already hosting the second Dakar Saudi Arabia this month, and welcoming back Formula E’s Diriyah E-Prix for the third time in February. — SG