Saudi Arabia is looking to host the season-opening round of the 2024 Formula 1 campaign, but says its race will shift to later in the year if it fails to do so.
Bahrain, a neighbouring country to Saudi Arabia, has hosted the first round of F1 World Championship for the last handful of years.
However, it emerged last year from Australian Grand Prix bosses that Saudi Arabia had requested the opening round for 2024 to avoid complications amid the Islamic month of Ramadan.
Next year, Ramadan is scheduled to start on March 11 and run to April 4, with Saudi Arabia unable to host its F1 race in this period.
Chairman of the Saudi Motorsport Company (SMC) Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Abdullah Al-Faisal says nothing is yet confirmed regarding it hosting the first round.
“It’s too early,” he said. “For us, we want to think what is best for the teams, and what is best for FOM.
“We would love to have the opening race, but I’m sure this is something that we should discuss now before the announcement of the calendar.
“We want to see the feedback of the teams, because as I said, we want what’s best for F1, and we want what’s best for the teams. If it’s the best solution, we would love to have the opening race.
“Nothing is set now, and hopefully we can finalise it soon.”
In 2021, Saudi Arabia hosted the penultimate round of the year, before taking on the second rounds of the 2022 and 2023 campaigns.
Prince Khalid says that should it fail to obtain the opening race of the year in 2024, it would likely push its race back to its original late-season date.
“The problem is we’re going to have Ramadan, Ramadan every year it shifts like 10 days, 11 days earlier,” he said.
“And one of us, it’s either going to be Saudi or Bahrain that can have a race before Ramadan, and after Ramadan, the weather in April and May is hot.
“So March is the last time where the weather is suitable. We saw races used to happen in March, I mean in April in Bahrain, and it was too hot.
“So it’s either going to be us or Bahrain, but as I said, we need to discuss with FOM and the teams, and then we make our decision.
“Otherwise, it will shift to somewhere, October or after October, where the weather starts to get better in our region.”
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