24-race season on the cards if Saudi Arabia joins F1 calender
Formula 1 is reportedly close to agreeing to a deal worth £50-million (R936.21-million, est.) a year that will see Saudi Arabia become one of the global destinations on the calendar.
According to the Daily Mail, amongst other newspaper reports, Saudi Arabia could join the schedule as early as 2021 with a street race in Jeddah acting as a stop-gap until a purpose-built circuit is ready for the following year.
The report also states that F1 has ‘struck a global sponsorship deal’ with Saudi Arabian oil giant Aramco, the world’s richest company valued at $2 trillion, meaning the race would likely be known as the ‘Aramco Saudi Arabian Grand Prix’.
The race is set to be held in the early stages of the season in order to avoid the scorching hot temperatures between May and September.
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F1 is no stranger to the Middle East, having held races in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, and promoters of the former race would welcome more growth to the area with the addition of a Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
A spokesman for the Bahrain International Circuit said: “Since our first race in 2004, our goal has been to grow the fanbase for motorsport in the region. We would, therefore, welcome initiatives which can support that growth and believe that a future race in Saudi Arabia would be complementary.”
It is not just Saudi Arabia that is reportedly set to join the calendar next year as the long-sought-after Miami Grand Prix is also said to be close to completion.
The report says that F1 bosses are ‘increasingly confident’ of overcoming the local opposition to the race in order for a second US race to be held in 2021.
It is believed that none of the current races are under threat by the potential new arrivals, meaning a 24-race calendar could be in store from next season.