Officials in Saudi Arabia have begun construction of the Jeddah City Circuit ahead of its debut on the Formula 1 calendar later this year.
Saudi Arabia last year agreed a long-term deal with Formula 1 for a grand prix to be held in the country.
A large entertainment and sports complex, at which there will be a circuit, is under construction near capital city Riyadh and is set to be opened in 2023, but until then Formula 1’s Saudi Arabian round will take place in Jeddah.
Last month organisers revealed the layout of the 27-turn Jeddah City Circuit, which will run adjacent to the Red Sea, and feature average lap speeds of around 250km/h.
“Today marks a historic moment for Saudis and all motorsport fans around the world with the ground-breaking of the Jeddah Formula 1 circuit,” said Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Abdullah Al Faisal, Chairman of the Saudi Automobile Federation.
“This is the opening of a bright new page in the history of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the city of Jeddah.
“We seek to build a circuit and host a race that is a differentiator in the world of Formula 1, one that distinguishes us from others by presenting a race that will remain in the memories of Formula 1 fans for years to come.”
The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is scheduled to take place on December 5 as the penultimate event of the 23-round campaign.
It is the sole brand-new venue on the 2021 calendar though Formula 1 is due to return to a heavily renovated Zandvoort this September after a 36-year absence.