In December, earlier than heading to Abu Dhabi to conclude the 2021 season, Formulation 1 will set down in Jeddah for the primary Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in historical past. The championship has reached an settlement offering for the group of a race within the nation for the following ten years, with the prospect of a relocation to Qiddiya, the long run capital of leisure.
The choice to carry a Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia drew robust criticism from NGOs similar to Amnesty Worldwide, which stated the occasion “can be a part of the continuing efforts to scrub away the nation’s catastrophic human rights file via sport”. Others, like Lewis Hamilton, have identified a “main downside” of non-respect for human rights in sure international locations the place F1 takes place.
Earlier this 12 months, the seven-time World Champion spoke with officers of the Bahrain Grand Prix about this. And Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Abdullah Al Faisal, promoter of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and president of the Saudi Motorsport Federation, additionally mentioned these issues with a number of drivers through the British Grand Prix a couple of years in the past. days.
“I met a number of pilots at Silverstone”, revealed the Prince throughout a spherical desk the place some media had been invited, together with Motorsport.com. “I am not going to call their names however Lewis Hamilton was not one among them. I spoke with them brazenly. I advised them to return to Saudi Arabia to allow them to see what is going on on.”
Lately, the variety of main world sporting occasions organized in Saudi Arabia has solely elevated. The Persian Gulf nation has notably hosted a Formulation E occasion in Diriyah since 2018 and the Dakar since 2020. Subsequently, the Prince invited the F1 drivers to fulfill with those that traveled to Saudi Arabia throughout these occasions. occasions.
“It’s a must to go there, meet the locals, after which you can also make up your personal thoughts. I am positive that [les pilotes] have mates who’ve come for Formulation E or the Dakar. They’ll discuss to them about it. It’s by coming to us that they’ll then be capable of kind an opinion, as a result of now we have confidence in our previous and future progress. So now we have no downside [à parler des droits de l’Homme]. “
Since 2020, F1 has been dedicated to turning into a extra inclusive and various championship, whereas attempting to reply different vital social questions, with the institution of the We Race As One program. Requested by Motorsport.com on the position of the Saudi Arabian GP within the actions taken by We Race As One, the Prince replied that either side “labored carefully collectively” for “align missions”.
“For the time being, issues are progressing rather well between us”, he added. “In Saudi Arabia, opening up our nation is a part of our technique. We wish to enhance the standard of life for everybody, the Saudis and everybody who visits Saudi Arabia. It’ll assist us obtain our targets.”