Oct.17 (GMM) Saudi Arabia is keen to host a second annual Formula 1 race.
The Arabian kingdom held its first night grand prix on the streets of Jeddah last year, with sports minister and former racing driver Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Faisal admitting he “wouldn’t say no” to a second venue.
“We really see the benefits of these events for the kingdom and that’s why we invest so much,” he is quoted by Sport1.
He said Saudi Arabia “definitely” has the capacity for two Formula 1 races each year.
“We need to discuss it with Formula 1 to see how it goes,” the minister added.
Currently, a new permanent circuit is being built in Qiddiya, which is reportedly an entertainment megaproject in Riyadh – the Saudi capital.
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, however, says the sport’s annual calendar will hit its maximum capacity of 24 grands prix next year.
“I don’t want to discuss a further increase in the number of races,” he is quoted by motorsport-magazin.com.
“When choosing venues, we take into account many factors but have quite clearly decided that 24 is our maximum, even if there are many more offers than there are dates on the calendar.”
One option for Saudi Arabia might therefore be alternating between its two F1 venues each year.
“That was the case in Germany with the Nurburgring and Hockenheim and it could be an option for us,” al-Faisal said.
At the same time, the fate of the highly popular Dutch GP at Zandvoort is still undecided beyond next year.
The Noordhollands Dabglad newspaper quotes race boss Jan Lammers as admitting that “nothing has been signed yet” beyond 2023.