Alejandro Agag, Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki AlFaisal Al Saud, Prince Khaled Bin Sultan Bin Abdullah AlFaisal, Alberto Longo, Formula E, 2018

Women will drive in Saudi Arabia’s Formula E event – Agag

Formula E

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Women will be allowed to take part in Formula E’s inaugural event in Saudi Arabia this year, even if there are none among the drivers competing in the country’s first race.

Last year Saudi King Salman announced women will be allowed to hold drivers’ licences, ending the country’s decades-long ban on them driving.

Women have raced in Formula E since the championship began in 2014, but there are none among the 20 drivers competing in Formula E at present. However championship CEO Alejandro Agag said the Saudi authorities had requested women be allowed to take part in the event.

“Still today women cannot drive in Saudi Arabia,” said Agag. “But there is going to be a historic moment next month, women will be able to, for the first time ever, drive.

“We have of course received complete assurances – actually it has been the request of the Saudi authorities – that women participate in the Formula E event. And if they are not in a racing team we will organise some way for women to drive around the track which is really the intention of the new years of Saudi Arabia to showcase that change.”

Saudi Arabian women have seen some relaxing of the previously strict limits on their freedoms, which included bans on them attending sporting events.

“Women will be allowed in the event as spectators,” Agag confirmed. “Obviously women will be allowed to come, work and report on the race. We see that as a great element of change in a country that didn’t have all those right in the past.

“We are happy to be part of that change and we see Formula E as a force for good and in this case is a very specific place under very specific circumstances, but we think Formula E can make a contribution also for good in that country by doing this.”

Agag described Formula E’s new 10-year deal to race in Riyadh as a “game-changer”.

“I think the decision to race in Riyadh is very important because we want to be part of the positive change that is happening in Saudi Arabia,” he said. “We see this as a game-changer, that Formula E is going to participate in that change.”

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 19 comments on “Women will drive in Saudi Arabia’s Formula E event – Agag”

    1. Not closely related to the article but I’ve noticed more articles from editors other than @keithcollantine or @dieterrencken, like this one from @hazelsouthwell: is this due to the new authors’ panel under the article or we effectively have new people in RaceFans team?

      1. @m-bagattini Over the past few days you’ll have seen contributions from @christurner and @willwood, both of which have written for RaceFans/F1 Fanatic before. @gabrielekoslowski is new and contributed to our reporting from the paddock in Spain and will do again in Monaco and some other rounds. And yes, as of last weekend we’ve all got shiny new author pages where you can find all our stuff!

        1. Keith you should let us write an article every once in a while.

          But only those that have a particular opinion of a said driver/team

          1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            18th May 2018, 20:15

            Yes, I noticed that and has been the case all week I think. I thought it was just me :D

        2. YellowSubmarine
          20th May 2018, 22:09

          Over the past few days you’ll have seen contributions from @christurner and @willwood, both of which have written for RaceFans/F1 Fanatic before

          Surely you meant “both of WHOM”? “Which” as an objective pronoun is used to refer to animals and things…when it comes to people, it’s “whom”. Or so claimed my English teacher back in the day!

    2. I think it’s a great thing to see actual oppression being fought, and I think it’s a great thing Agag is making this contribution to it. The only thing he could’ve done better is saying that they’re simply not interested in a race there as they’re still violating several human laws, but so are Bahrein and Abu Dhabi for example.

      1. Agreed. We need to be very mindful of giving too much credit to a country for doing something that practically every other country on the planet is already doing. Letting women drive cars. I mean seriously. OK it’s ‘progress’, but it’s a reflection on Saudi Arabia that it’s progress at all. It should be a given. They’ve a long long way to go when it comes to human rights.

    3. “Women will be allowed in the event as spectators,” Agag confirmed.

      Wow. amazing. what an enlightened country :-)

      1. @vjanik To quote Pet Shop Boys, “it’s better than nothing, I suppose”.

        While every change in a positive direction should be welcome, it is obvious that a lot of Saudi Arabia’s social norms can only be described as sick. There is nothing bad about being ‘part of that change’ as Agag puts it but not much has changed in Russia, China or Bahrain just because F1 (or other sports) went there. So I would not get my hopes up.

        1. Yes, many societies have sick social norms. Just as your 12 year old daughters sexting their boyfriends in your middle schools, to gay pride parades where oral sex is done openly, to six states in the USA where you can legally marry an animal.

    4. Does women have names? Because I would like to know who is driving the cars, not their gender

      1. I’ve heard a rumor Britney will be driving.

      2. I’m not sure the organisers know that information themselves (since it sounds like if one of the FE teams signs a woman, there may not be any sort of support event, and if there is a support event, they don’t know who will be in it yet).

    5. Race fans should feel embarrassed for posting this article with the clickbait and deceitful subject as written. Nothing more than glorified propaganda for the saudi’s. (And fE, but that’s ok).

      Im embarrassed for you guys…

      1. to be fair, it’s the FIA that lets places like Saudi use them for propaganda. This site is just reporting what’s happening. Would it be fair to ask them to go dark for Baku & Bahrain or arguably China & Russia too.

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