Saudi Arabia’s Qiddiya facility is aiming to bring a Grand Prix to the country for the 2023 F1 World Championship.
Saudi Arabia’s Qiddiya project is aiming to bring Formula 1 to the country by 2023. Qiddiya is a huge ‘entertainment city’ being built in the country, with a Six Flags theme park, swimming pools, shopping outlets and movie facilities as well as a Grand Prix track planned.
Qiddiya is holding a special ‘Qiddiya Grand Prix’ event on Friday, to mark the end of the Dakar Rally as podium finishers of the rally will gather at the venue.
Former drivers Alex Wurz, Damon Hill and David Coulthard are in attendance at the event, as are Romain Grosjean and Nico Hulkenberg.
Speaking to BBC Sport, CEO of Qiddiya Mike Reininger said: “We’re building a facility in the hope there will be a deal struck and there is a race here in Saudi.”
However, it’s not Qiddiyah who will negotiate with Formula 1, with Saudi authorities like the general sports authority and the motorsports federation responsible for creating the opportunity.
Qiddiyah’s goal is simply to build an FIA Grade 1 facility, which could host a Formula 1 Grand Prix: “The formalisation of a race is not for us at Qiddiyah.” continued Reininger. “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 Qiddiyah facility is one of the facets of the ‘Saudi Vision 30’, a plan outlined by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud which is supposed to diversify the country’s economy away from purely being oil dependant and improve tourism. Part of this strategy is to ‘sportswash’ the country’s poor image in terms of human rights, including new events in Riyadh with Formula E and the arrival of WWE – the first female wrestling match took place in Riyadh on October 31st.