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Saudi Arabia F1 race set to remain in Jeddah until at least 2027

The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is set to remain at the Jeddah Formula 1 circuit until at least 2027 as work continues on the new facility at Qiddiya.

An aerial view of the grid

Saudi Arabia hosted its first F1 race in 2021 at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, which was intended to be a temporary home for the grand prix before moving to the new-build city of Qiddiya on the outskirts of Riyadh.

But as work continues on the state-of-the-art facility, Jeddah is now expected to host the race for at least another four years, with a number of the temporary facilities at the track being made permanent.

“It’s important that we future proof the Jeddah track and for this reason we have again been working with the FIA and Formula 1 to ensure that we have a circuit that will allow us to stage the sport in Jeddah while work begins on the track in Qiddiya,” said Martin Whitaker, the CEO of the Saudi Motorsport Company that promotes the race.

“The Qiddiya automotive centre is being designed to lead the world in Formula 1 circuit design and entertainment. A unique and exciting project, Qiddiya will be a location that everyone will want to visit.

“But right now and in the immediate future the focus and eyes of the world will be on Jeddah and the Red Sea coastline in the month of March.”

Fans watch the start of the race from the Paddock Club balcony

Fans watch the start of the race from the Paddock Club balcony

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

It emerged earlier this month that Saudi Arabia is in line to host the opening round of the 2024 F1 season after agreeing to a date swap with Australia, ensuring that it would not clash with the holy month of Ramadan, which takes place from 10 March to 9 April. 

But Whitaker maintained that the exact timing of the grand prix and placement on the calendar was still to be confirmed through talks with F1 and the FIA.

“Obviously, because of the sanctity of Ramadan it would be impossible to host a Grand Prix during that time, but ultimately any decision on the timings of the race next year is in the hands of Formula 1 and the FIA,” he said.

“So we are waiting for clarification from the promoter and governing body with regards to our 2024 date. As usual this will not be announced until much later in the year.”

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Safety assurances remain ‘paramount’ for Saudi organisers

Last year’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was overshadowed by safety concerns following a missile strike on an Aramco oil facility near the track during FP1, for which Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility.

It prompted meetings into the early hours of Saturday between drivers and team bosses about potentially cancelling the rest of the weekend, only for safety assurances to be put in place and for the weekend to continue.

Talks took place between the race organisers and drivers last year to discuss the issue ahead of the 2023 race, with Whitaker saying that safety remained of “paramount importance to everyone who attends the race.”

“As a promoter it is our job to ensure that people feel safe while they are at the track and in the city,” he added.

“Underlining this message to the Formula 1 community during the year since the race last March has been a key objective.

“Discussions with the drivers and team principals has been a primary objective and I would like to think that the strong messages that we and the authorities have communicated have given everyone travelling to Jeddah the assurances that Saudi, like so many of the other races on the F1 calendar, is totally safe and that the hospitality of the Saudi people is foremost in the minds of all visitors.”

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