Jeddah not yet confirmed as 2024 season opener

Sat, 18 March 2023, 07:00

Mar.18 (GMM) Saudi Arabia is yet to be assigned the top spot on next year’s Formula 1 calendar.

That is despite the fact that, late last year, organisers of the Australian GP admitted in a statement that Jeddah will “host the first race of the 2024 season out of respect for Ramadan”.

Indeed, the Muslim holy month begins in mid March next year, which is part of the reason why F1 apparently agreed that Saudi Arabia would get the opening race of 2024 prior to that.

However, Saudi Arabia’s automobile federation chief Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Faisal Al-Saud said at the Jeddah street circuit on Friday: “It’s still too early.

“We would love to have the opening race, and I’m sure this is something that we should discuss now before the announcement of the calendar,” he added.

“We want to see the feedback of the teams because we want what’s best for FOM and what’s best for the teams. If it’s the best solution we would love to have the opening race, but nothing is set now.”

The Saudi official admits that the 2024 season opener will either be in Saudi Arabia “or Bahrain” – because for both of those venues, waiting until after Ramadan would result in excessively hot weather.

“We saw when races used to happen in April in Bahrain it was too hot,” he said.

“Otherwise, it will shift to somewhere like October, or after October, where the weather starts to get better in our region.”

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