Saudi Arabia building circuit to host F1 races in 2023

Mark Scott
Charles Leclerc: Quickest in FP3 in Bahrain

Charles Leclerc: Quickest in FP3 in Bahrain

Saudi Arabia has confirmed plans that it intends to build a “world-class” facility and will be ready to host Formula 1 racing from the 2023 season.

Reports emerged earlier in the week that Formula 1 is close to agreeing a £50million-a-year deal with Saudi Arabia to bring another race to the Middle East alongside Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.

And those plans seem to be very much in the pipeline as Saudi Arabia unveiled a race track to form part of the state-of-the-art entertainment and sports complex called Qiddiyah, which is situated in the country’s capital, Riyadh.

“We’re building a facility in the hope there will be a deal struck and there is a race here in Saudi,” chief executive officer, Mike Reininger, told BBC Sport.

“The formalisation of a race is not for us at Qiddiyah. 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.

“We are actually building a series of facilities both on-circuit and off-road in one aggregated place which really hasn’t been assembled anywhere else in the world like this.

“The centrepiece for us is going to be the Grade One circuit.”

Damon Hill, David Coulthard, Nico Hulkenberg and Romain Grosjean were amongst the guests shown a simulation of the track, which is being designed by ex-Formula 1 driver Alexander Wurz.

Wurz said: “It’s a privilege of a lifetime to design the motion and mobility zone in Qiddiyah, including the Speedpark track.

“The project offers us amazing opportunities to design a track, a true racing arena for the drivers and spectators.

“The design offers amazing elevation changes, making use of the stunning natural landscape. Equally, it is made to challenge drivers and engineers alike.

“And, from our simulation runs, I can assure you it is absolutely thrilling as an on- and off-track experience.”

Although this specific track in Saudi Arabia will not be ready until 2023, Formula 1 could introduce a race in the country as early as 2021 with a temporary street circuit.

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