In December, before going to Abu Dhabi To conclude the 2021 seasonFormula 1 settles in Jeddah for the first Saudi Grand Prix in history. The championship reached an agreement to organize a race in the country Over the next ten years, with the prospect of moving to Qiddiya, the future entertainment capital.
The decision to hold the Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia sparked severe criticism From NGOs such as Amnesty InternationalWho announced that event “It will be part of the ongoing effort to remove the country’s disastrous human rights record through sport”. Others, like Lewis Hamilton, underlined a “A major problem” Lack of respect for human rights in some countries where F1 occurs.
Earlier this year, the seven-time world champion spoke to officials at the Bahrain Grand Prix about the matter. Prince Khalid bin Sultan Abdullah Al-Faisal, promoter of the Saudi Grand Prix and head of the Saudi Motorsports Federation, also discussed these concerns with several drivers during the British Grand Prix a few years ago.
I met several pilots at Silverstone., the prince revealed during a round table where some of the media were invited, including Motorsport.com. “I won’t name them but Lewis Hamilton wasn’t among them. I spoke to them frankly. I told them to come to Saudi Arabia so they could see what’s going on.”
In recent years, the number of major international sporting events organized in Saudi Arabia has only increased. The Gulf country has notably hosted the Formula E event in Diriyah since 2018 and Dakar since 2020. Therefore, the prince invited Formula 1 drivers to speak with those who traveled to Saudi Arabia during these events.
“You have to go there, meet the locals, and then you can make your own decision. I’m sure of that [les pilotes] You have friends who came for Formula E or Dakar. They can talk to them about it. By coming to us they will then be able to form an opinion, because we trust our progress in the past and the future. So we don’t have a problem [à parler des droits de l’Homme]. “
Since 2020, F1 has been committed to becoming a more inclusive and diverse championship, while attempting to answer other important social questions, while creating We Race As One. asked by Motorsport.com On the role of the Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia in the actions taken by We Are One, the Prince replied that both sides “They worked closely together” for Matching tasks.
“At the moment, things are going well between us.”, he added. “In Saudi Arabia, opening up to our country is part of our strategy. We want to improve the quality of life for everyone, for Saudis and everyone who visits Saudi Arabia. This will help us achieve our goals.”
“Pop culture maven. Unapologetic student. Avid introvert. Gamer. Problem solver. Tv fanatic.”