Rumor: Saudi Arabia eyes F1 team, driver (2nd Update)

Craig Pollock claims that if his EDI team gains entry into F1, it would be the first team in the sport that’s 50% men and 50% women, he says, with that equal split applying across the whole organization – from the cockpit to the engineers to the boardroom.

“Our ambition to deliver and build opportunities and pathways for women to get to the very top level inside motorsports,” Pollock told CNN Sport’s Don Riddell.

“The concept and the idea was to try and build a Formula One team, 50% male, 50% female, which is extremely hard to do if you have an existing Formula One team; it’s a lot easier with a clean sheet of paper.”

“We know that we are going to have to go through our academy systems,” he says. “We know we’re going to have to build it up because there are not enough women at the moment who are trained up to the level of Formula One and they’ve got to earn a place in there at the same time.”

s part of the selection process, the FIA will assess, among other things, a detailed business plan, the team’s experience, technical ability and resources, and the potential to raise and maintain sufficient funding.

We are in intense discussions with I would just say a Gulf area country (we know that to be Saudi Arabia),” says Pollock when asked about the funding behind his venture.

“I’m not really in the position to talk about that and be fully open about it at this present time – that will come out in the very near future. And I just hope it’s going to work because … it does take a lot of money.”

Pollock stresses that his team is focused on “delivering the opportunities and pathways for the women coming up.”

“Obviously, that is linked to equality, diversity, inclusion, and sustainability. This is not a question of me going to them [the Gulf state].

“In reality, it’s them having come to us because we have a turnkey operation with the business plan, with all the costings, with everything ready to go.”

Pollock says that his project, if successful, would see the launch of the “first Formula One team that is truly outside of Europe” – thousands of miles from the heartland of the sport in the south of England where many teams are already based.

“This has to be built from the bottom up in a Gulf state and this is what we are aiming to do,” he adds. “This is a long-term project – this is not short-term.”

Related Article: Saudi Arabia has big plans for Formula 1 – including having a team based there.

March 23, 2023 

Craig Pollock (pictured above), who brought Jacques Villeneuve into CART and F1 before founding the BAR F1 team, is said to have submitted an Expression of Interest (EOI) to be one of the two new F1 teams under the EDI banner with Saudi backing. Other teams said to have submitted are Andretti Global, Hitech, and Panthera Asia – four in total. Only two maximum can be accepted.

RacingNews365 approached the Scotsman, who was, as expected, tight-lipped save to confirm that he had submitted the EOI documentation required to date – in any event confirmed by FIA sources – and that he was in talks with some serious investors.

Rumors in Jeddah linked Pollock to Saudi Arabian figures, said to be keen on a) having a F1 team officially represent the Kingdom at world championship level as opposed to being ‘merely’ a promoter and global partner to the sport, and b) do so in conjunction with an operation that has EDI at its core.

RacingNews365 approached Prince Khalid, President of the Saudi Motorsport Federation, for comment.

“It’s still in the very early stages,” the Prince admitted, adding, “there are lots of feasibility studies, there’s a lot of things we still need to do and consider. Now things are a lot easier to enter Formula 1, but there’s a lot to do before we take the final decision.

“Hopefully we can sort a lot of things soon and not later because to enter Formula 1 later will cost a lot more. We are looking closely, and we have a lot of interest.”

He did, though, stop short of admitting that a EDI project was under consideration, saying only, “It is too early to go into these kinds of details.” No denial, then…

Prince Khalid bin Sultan al-Abdullah al-Faisal

March 23, 2023 

(GMM) Plans may be afoot for a Saudi Arabian Formula 1 team.

The lucrative Kingdom caused a stir recently amid rumors Saudi’s national investment body could be eyeing a $20 billion buyout of F1’s commercial rights.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali denied it, but with Saudi Arabia’s commercial interests in Formula 1 growing, and with a grand prix already up and running, a national team could be the next step.

“Our relationship with Formula 1 has developed successfully over the past 40 years,” said Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdullah Al-Faisal Al-Saud, boss of Saudi Arabia’s automobile federation.

“This legacy first led us to racing and may one day lead to the creation of our own Formula 1 team,” the member of the ruling family added.

“We would also like to see our own driver in Formula 1 who can compete at the highest level. We are really passionate about motorsport and want to contribute by playing a big role in the future of this sport.”

Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 and Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving (16) the Ferrari F1-75 battle for track position during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 27, 2022 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images) /

“Hopefully in 10 to 20 years from now you will see Saudi Arabia and Saudi companies and more people engaged globally with Formula 1.”


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