The importance of the decision is not limited to its sporting dimension, but is related to the process of reform and openness in which Saudi Arabia has been involved in recent years, and has begun to cut its stages quickly to make up for years during which the kingdom has fallen under the yoke of a conservative model that closed clerics have played a role in establishing and applying it to the society of the majority of young people.
Sports, culture and entertainment in general will have a major role in the new model that Saudi Arabia wishes to implement, and which includes among its objectives the relief of pressure exerted by clerics on society.
The major international cultural and sporting events that Saudi Arabia possesses the elements to embrace and organize efficiently have a role in efforts to diversify the economy and reduce its heavy dependence on oil, which is included in the reform program of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, “Vision 2030”.
Within the scope of this vision, the Kingdom will work to revitalize its tourism sector and raise its contribution to financing the state budget by exploiting the great natural and cultural assets it possesses.
Sport also has an important moral role for Saudi Arabia, which is represented in marketing a new image of it to the world in contrast to that image that summarizes the kingdom in just an extremely religious oil country, the point of fossilization and isolation in the view of some peoples.
Saudi Minister of Sports Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al Saud said in a press conference to announce the decision to host a part of Formula One competitions, “These hosting are complementary to a package of sports hosting .. in light of the Kingdom’s 2030 vision.” The race will be held on the Corniche of Jeddah Governorate in November 2021.
“We used to dream of seeing these sporting events on the screen, and now they are on the ground,” the minister added, noting that the hosting “confirms our presence in major global events.”
He added that this event “will not be entertainment, but will also bring the most important car manufacturers in the world,” stressing that this “adds to the Kingdom’s standing and its readiness to host the largest sports, cultural and other events.”
For his part, President of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation Prince Khaled bin Sultan Al-Abdullah said at the same press conference, “We have benefited a lot from the organization of Formula E and the Dakar Rally, and we will benefit from these experiences in the current event.”
This race, which is part of a 15-year partnership, will be the third Formula One race in the Middle East, after the Bahrain Grand Prix and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.