Saudi Arabia would be open to hosting two Formula 1 races a year and it could happen in the near future, local organisers told journalists in Jeddah on Friday.
Sunday’s race on the Jeddah Corniche street circuit will be the third grand prix held in the kingdom, where a new track planned for the ‘entertainment city’ of Qiddiya near Riyadh could be ready by 2027.
“The idea of having two races in Saudi is doable,” Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation chairman Prince Khalid bin Sultan al-Abdullah al-Faisal told selected reporters.
“You have three races in the (United) States because the market is big there and there is a demand. So the demand is there (in Saudi Arabia), but the decision is not made. There are a lot of things we need to consider.
“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,” added al-Faisal.
Jeddah looks likely to be the F1 season opening race in 2024
Al Faisal said F1 was the biggest sporting event in Saudi Arabia, and there had been considerable investment in the Jeddah track, but there had been no discussion with commercial rights holders Liberty Media on hosting two races.
Saudi Arabia looks likely to be the opening race next year, instead of neighbouring Bahrain, due to where Ramadan falls on the calendar.
The country made its debut in December 2021, paired with Abu Dhabi, before switching to a late March slot on back-to-back weekends with Bahrain last year.
“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,” said Prince Khalid.
“So March is the last time where the weather is suitable… otherwise it will shift to October or after where the weather starts to get better in our region.” (Writing by Alan Baldwin)