Saudi Arabia track confirms interest in 2023 F1 race

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In the round-up: A planned F1 track in Saudi Arabia could hold its first race in 2023.

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What should we expect of Alexander Albon in his first full season alongside Max Verstappen?

Verstappen is exceptional, so all the more reason Albon just has to go out there and learn and do his best.

Is anybody really expecting he will match or beat Verstappen? I don’t. But that doesn’t mean Albon can’t also reach a level of exceptional, and be a really solid racer with a fantastic career in F1 ahead of him.

I expect he will only get stronger and stronger and as I said above will at least have a full preseason and season this year at Red Bull, so I think he is going to get a really healthy amount of points for the team, be a disrupter to Mercedes and Ferrari, and at a minimum end up looking as a desirable driver to have in F1.

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On this day in F1

David Coulthard, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2005
David Coulthard, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2005

On this day 15 years ago Red Bull were testing ahead of their first F1 season with David Coulthard and Vitantonio Liuzzi at the wheel at Circuit de Catalunya.

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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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49 comments on “Saudi Arabia track confirms interest in 2023 F1 race”

  1. Please. No more GP’s in the Middle East, countries that don’t have any real interest in cars and other forms of transportation and/or countries that have a human rights record so atrocious that it would make Vladimir Putin blush.

    1. But… but… evil guys also want to have F1 races!
      It is intolerant to prevent them from having more races :D

    2. No middle eastern country has done anything as evil as the Iraq war on fake wmd evidence . Stop introducing politics only with a white supremacist viewpoint. If there is a gp in ameriKKKa, then there can be one anywhere, especially since ameriKKKa is the number 1 ally and weapons supplier to the sauds.

      Stop the white supremacist hypocrisy

      1. Some Jewish, homosexual and female people want a word with you

      2. Sorry to rock your boat there, @megatron, but i think you (like most of the world) completely ignore Jemen there. The war there is causing a lot of grief and it’s justification was far less than for the Iraq war.

        1. @Bascb
          You might want to look into who supplies the saudis with their weapons that they kill Yemenis with. What wars would the Saudis start without weapons? The saudis wouldn’t remain in power without ameriKKKan weapons, same with the Egyptian, Bahraini dictators, and several others.

          1. I don’t have to look into that @megatron, i know the US, followed by the likes of the UK, Germany (i think they might have stopped that recently) and France are all profiting from that war. But they are not the ones who started it and finance it though.

        2. @Bascb There is no justification for either the Iraqi or Yemeni wars.

      3. I’m far from being a supporter of US external policies. In fact, I think they are the main reason of the conflicts in the Middle East. Said that, I think we cant compare a race in the US to a race in Saudi Arabia.
        For us that, I presume, are mostly white straight men it’s irrelevant, but all the other fans will be banned to attend the event, gay people holding hands? No. Women watching the race? Only if covered against their will. In pratical and comercial terms, a race in Saudi Arabia makes no sense.

        1. Bring back grid girls!

        2. There were plenty of women in the stands for the formula E race, they even had a separate race for women, most of which were uncovered. Plenty of female participants in the 2020 dakar. Plenty of women go to the music concerts. Stop your propaganda

      4. Wow, this escalated quickly.

    3. @mfreire By going solely with that argument, dropping every single country currently in F1 could be justified as each one of them has something that could be used as a justifiable reason for axing from the championship.

      1. That’s not what I meant. No country on this planet is perfect. Expecting something like that is borderline delusional.

        Look- Saudi Arabia most importantly it has no history related to the car in any context- manufacturing, motor racing, there have never been any Saudi F1 drivers, and there isn’t even an underground car scene (which the UAE apparently does have). There is nothing at all. You know what they do have? Oil money. Lots of oil money.

        I am a naturalized American, originally from Portugal. I emigrated here from Europe more than 20 years ago and I don’t feel at home anywhere else. And guess what: I am more than aware of the US federal government’s stance on destabilizing war and military action. I am more than aware of that orange piece of garbage who lives in the White House’s continued policy of supplying Saudi Arabia to fight a war in Yemen. In Washington DC, a number of corrupt right-wing politicians are each bribed with millions of dollars by lobbyists from the military industrial complex (Boeing, Lockheed, Northrop, Raytheon) who, because they will cease to receive money if they dont do as their corporate masters say actively support a unilateral policy of waging war for whatever reason. It’s these scum, people like Trump, Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham who give this country such a bad reputation and why we are in fact the number one threat to world peace. It’s also the reason why our standards of living are not as good as in Western Europe and Scandanavia- it’s because our government would rather waste money on the military than spend it on its people. This current government here is in no way reflective of its people and society. I can guarantee you at least 80% of the 328 million people here would vote to not continue these stupid, genocidal, pointless armed conflicts. And I am one of those people. And you want to talk about England, France, Belgium, Spain and Portugal‘s history as colonial powers? Oh, I could go on for hours…

        But you want to compare us to a country so repressive and so ridiculously conservative that has barbaric, medivially simplistic methods to punishing and repressing its own people? We have a justice system that although as functional and as throughly developed and structured as any other developed country is racist and for a developed country, broken. But we, as any other developed countries do not repress women down to mere possessions. We do not behead people in public squares, castrate men for committing rape, chop off people’s hands for committing theft, or execute people simply for practicing another religion that isn’t Islam, among countless other horrific forms of punishment. We have multiple political parties. We have freedom of expression. We have leaders elected through a democratic process. Saudi Arabia has none of those things. You think that Mohammed Bone Saw is going to change anything? Hell no. He won’t do anything. He just wants the prestige, by any means necessary.

    4. The hypocrisy mentioned by others already, but there’s also that races will likely help change in these countries more than boycotting them would.

      1. @balue, you say that, but has anything actually changed in any of those countries since F1 started racing there?

        Have things really significantly changed in places like Bahrain or Azerbaijan? Even in places like Singapore, the glitz and glamour is layered on top of government authorities which are more repressive than many realise, and in some places the authorities seem to have become more authoritarian, such as in Hungary.

        There have been more than a few “image consultants” working for the Saudi government who have advocated using sporting events for the express purpose of making the country look better, particularly if they can be used to distract from events such as the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The purpose of a race in Saudi Arabia is a pretty nakedly superficial attempt to make the country look better whilst changing nothing.

      2. GtisBetter (@)
        18th January 2020, 9:29

        The evidence suggest races has made no difference in any country. All countries have only got worse. The race is only there to show of countries where human rights are not important in a good light. They have been doing it for a while now and you can tell which atheletes and music stars care more about money then ethnic issues. F1 is one of them. They only care about money. They have contracts with some of the biggest offenders of human rights, China, Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Abu Dhabi and now Saudi Arabia.

        People always bring in the USA and some other countries, but while no country is perfect, there is a big difference between a country where people are free and where one person controls most aspects of the governements, kill free press and where opponents of the current ruling regime get intimidated, abducted and executed by national intelligence.

        Nobody should defend or rationalize this. Every county like this on the calender is one to many. No need to hide behind “it’s sports, not politics,” when the reason tro organize this is purely political.

        1. Bringing press into your free america argument, oh boy..

          Make check who owns and dictates america. If freedom is counted as, not i jail, then you are probably right.

      3. @anon @passingisoverrated Valid points, but I still think the drip-effect of closer ties still has effect, even if the overriding motivation is to legitimize their medieval regime like you say. Look at how women now are allowed to drive cars in Saudi-Arabie for example, and Sophia, the first robot to become citizen was in the same country (even if viewing women as robots is also quite revealing).

        Saudis can’t help themselves but to try to impress the world while hosting an F1 race, and people will see women on the pit wall and it will all have an accumulative effect.

        1. @balue, the thing is, the announcement that women would be given licences wasn’t necessarily quite what it appeared on the surface.

          Even the previous monarch acknowledged that, whilst on paper, women were banned under most circumstances from driving, in more rural areas there was a certain tolerance of women driving because it was often necessary for them to do to serve the needs of their families. To some extent, the pronouncement that women would be given licences in 2017 was perhaps a formalisation of something which had been going on for some time at a low level in more rural areas and might not have been quite as much of a revolution as first announced.

    5. Yet again F1 is being tempted to follow the money regardless of political or human rights record of the country involved. This is one of its biggest failings as a sport and in my opinion, it really needs to stop.

      Then there is the point about why we need 3 races in the Middle East which has no automotive or racing tradition at all. It’s all just money and greed.

      1. If saudi arabia, then lets also add F1 in Iran, Gaza and lets mix in whoever the usa is fighting or droppin bombs on at that time. Make the last a city track like mario-kart evade the bombs and drones. Maldonado might need to return, he might win it.

  2. Williams… did you watch certain videos showing Mr.Ticktum in all his “glory”?

    No? I believe you are in a HUGE surprise once you find them…

    1. They know, hence the positive PR

    2. “When we put him in our simulator, the guys said he was one of the best drivers they’ve ever seen.”

      Surely he’s safest in a simulator! He can hit anyone he wants :)

      1. @eurobrun: Seems the quote missed a qualifier…
        “When we put him in our simulator, the guys said he was one of the best pay drivers they’ve ever seen.”

  3. The artist’s rendition of the Saudi track is pretty cool. Just what F1 has been sorely lacking is a venue where the wealthiest patrons can drift around above the track in a pool with a glass bottom. Genius!

  4. As the time rolls on that Red Bull looks today like it’s racing in very different series. But the sound of those V10s were also from a very different planet than what we have today.

    1. @qeki
      When I saw that photo, for a second I thought I was looking at an F3 car!

  5. Those waterfall when the wind comes in gonna make the track slippery, that’s not good to me

    1. You say that like it’s a bad thing. More unpredictability is always good for business.

    2. I wonder what kind of glass and sealing would hold with F1 cars passing it by.

  6. Please, please, please, not another Abu Dhabi, not another Dallas, not another Las Vegas, not another ….

  7. Some still aren’t happy about the sound? It’s been six years since these modern V6 Turbos came in, six full-seasons with these.

    As an addition: I thoroughly agree with the COTD.

    1. I really hated the v8 sound, rather have this noise instead.

      1. agree with you, the v8 sounded terrible.

  8. Wow sainz beat Peterhansel, the only other driver with a car from virtually the same category.
    F1 is elitist, what about Dakar? From a sporting viewpoint, there is even less competition in dakar, and it has always been like this. I understand that most of the challenge is the dakar itself much like most of the challenge in 24 hour races is 24 hour races.

  9. Ignoring politics, 3 races in the area the size of the Middle East is way too much. 2 is the absolute maximum, if Saudi does plan to host it I hope they negotiate with Bahrain or UAE.
    And this is coming from a middle eastern!

  10. By then we can call F1 the anti-human rights series…
    Chase Carrey is an even bigger prostitute than Bernie E.
    Whats next a race in North Korea and Iran?

    1. Even worse a race in ameriKKKa

      1. I have seen people joking about Iran, but Iran does at least have a form of democracy. I don’t know the details but they definitely voted out their president a few years ago.

        I don’t think this is true of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain or Abu Dhabi.

        The idea of another GP in the Middle East should not even be considered.

        1. @phil-f1-21

          Iranians can only vote for pre-approved candidates. The president is also lower in rank than the unelected Supreme Leader of Iran, so the president couldn’t make significant change even if he wanted to.

          That’s not much of a democracy.

    2. Sad F1 Fan honestly why are you even on this site or watching the sport? Literally all you do is moan about every single thing. Just bugger off you raincloud of a human, you’re boring.

  11. The intrim Red Bull livery, that looks like one of their drinks cans was kinda cool. I rather wish that for an anniversary, Red Bull would change their livery to an updated version of that.

    The testing colours they’ve used in the past few years have also been pretty cool. Their usual colours aren’t exactly bad but sometimes it’d be cool to see them race in them instead, or at the least paint Toro Rosso/Alpha Tauri in them.

  12. The renders are cool, yes. But they are intended to look cool. And something like the pool above the track would surely get banned in case of flying debris or an accident similar to Webber in Valencia.

    Too bad we got so used to F1 being cynical that we don’t think there’s a realistic option that F1 won’t go there.

  13. Countries in the middle east are trying more and moe to not be as dependent on their oil as means of income.
    Tourism is a major part of it and so are Sporting events.
    But, of all the countries that hosted major sporting events In the middle east, Saudi Arabia is the most restrictive.
    And if lets say any team member of a F1 team has visited Israel in the recent past (stamp in passport) they are not allowed to enter the country. Women are not allowed in the same area as men at events, plus one as to be almost completely covered. Meaning, what woman with common sense would want to visit this race knowing they are seen as inferior and held to subhuman standards.
    I am sure they could sell out the event and it being 100% men. But what would this do to F1s image.
    A contract for a F1 race there would need several assurances and exemptions so that everyone could go attend without having to worry about unfair treatment depending on gender, nationality or past travels.

  14. Ordinary people are not allowed to travel in Saudi now. The F1 in the country will open the door for travelers to Saudi. I would go to watch F1 race in Saudi just because I want to travel around Saudi not because its race.

  15. Maybe North Korea is next possible destination.

  16. Peter Waters (@)
    21st January 2020, 18:13

    North Korea will not be a destination for F1 because it has no money!

Comments are closed.