Saudi Arabia could host two Formula 1 races annually when construction of the new entertainment city of Qiddiya is completed.
That’s according to the Saudi Motorsport Company’s chairman Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Abdullah Al-Faisal, who spoke to media including Motorsport Week in Jeddah.
Construction of the Qiddiya project, which is located in the Riyadh region, began in 2019 and aims to decrease the nation’s reliance on oil-related income.
F1 has intended for some time to race in Qiddiya in the future, with an F1-eligible track being incorporated into the design of the city.
Plans for F1 to race in Qiddiya have been pushed to 2027, according to Prince Khalid.
“We think we will go there in ’27 and ’28,” he said. “The feedback from FOM and the people who watch the race, they love the track.
“The track is at the centre of Qiddiya. They are re-doing the master plans because things change on these big projects.
“We can’t just build a track and we are surrounded by construction sites. Part of the track is going inside the city. It’s a permanent circuit but part of it is inside the city, beside hotels and more so it’s like a hybrid between a permanent circuit and a street circuit.
“There’s going to be hotels, there’s going to be parks, there’s going to be a lot of things around it.
“We can’t just finish the track and we move the race to Qiddiya while it’s a construction site. So we want to go there when the project, the city, is completed.”
F1 raced around the Jeddah Corniche Circuit for the first time in 2021, and is expected to be the home of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix until the Qiddiya track is completed.
However, Prince Khalid has not ruled out the prospect of F1 competing at both venues on a permanent basis.
“Saudi Arabia is a very big market, we have a strong economy,” he said. “The idea of having two races in Saudi is doable.
“F1 is growing, there is a lot of demand here and because Saudi is big, the regions are so far away, it’s like the States.
“You have three races in the States because the market is big there and there is a demand. The demand is there, [but] the decision is not made.
“There are a lot of things that we need to consider and I don’t know if even we want to host two races here, is it practical and feasible for FOM and the teams?
“We built this track to last, so in theory, yes we can have two races. The sport is growing, the demand is growing, so I would not be surprised if Saudi, in the near future, will host two races, I wouldn’t be surprised.
“The demand is there and we have two beautiful facilities.”