Explaining the effect F1 can have in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, series CEO Stefano Domenicali believes aces in both countries could facilitate cultural change and progress over time. There have been debates in the F1 fraternity surrounding the addition of the Qatar GP and Saudi Arabia GP to the calendar.
Reasoning for the need to have Formula 1 in the two Gulf countries, Domenicali told BBC F1:
“Such an important change cannot happen overnight. It is a cultural change that will take time. But the timing will be accelerated by the fact that big events are there. And Formula 1 will play an important role in that respect. I believe the spotlight we are bringing will be beneficial for the will and the wishes of change that these countries are showing. I don’t believe that shutting countries off and saying we don’t want to be there will help the situation to improve. Actually, it will be the opposite”
Citing human rights records in both countries, many in the sport, including drivers, believe their presence on the calendar to be inappropriate, considering F1’s new philosophy of supporting diversity and driving change.
Domenicali told BBC F1 that the contracts for both Qatar and Saudi Arabia had a compliance clause where they had to respect human rights and guarantee the implementation of the same in their association with the sport.
The F1 boss also spoke of Saudi Arabian national oil company Aramco, a title sponsor of several races on the calendar. He said the oil giant was committed to sustainability and finding technical solutions to produce sustainable fuel in a short period of time.
Jeddah circuit work to be completed as per schedule, says F1 boss
While the Losail circuit is well prepared to host the Qatar Grand Prix this weekend, the Jeddah circuit staff is working overtime to ensure the circuit is ready in time for the Saudi Arabian GP. Running behind its scheduled time of completion led to concerns about whether the circuit would be ready on time.
Domenicali assured that the circuit authorities were working round the clock to ensure the timely completion of the venue. Insistent that the circuit will be ready by the race weekend, he told Autosport:
“I think that we are confident with the promoter, that he is working day and night, even night and day to arrive there. It’s possible, but the track will be done, the priority we know is there. But you will see the level of show that they’re going to bring there too.”
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The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at the Jeddah Corniche circuit is scheduled from December 3-5, 2021 while the Qatar Grand Prix will be held from November 19-21, 2021 and is the last race of the ongoing overseas triple header.