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F1 | Saudi Arabia promises a "safer" environment for F1 to return in 2023

"Change is being done, we are here to host F1 as best as it can be anywhere in the world" Saudi Arabia's sports minister said.

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F1 | Saudi Arabia promises a "safer" environment for F1 to return in 2023
Fuente imagen: Hasan Bratic - Motorlat

The last weekend of Formula 1 was not one of the usual ones we are used to.

The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was at the center of world news due to the happenings of last Friday, when a group of Yemeni rebels hit, with a missile, the facility of one of the country's most important oil company - Aramco – that is also of the main sponsors of the Circus.

The attack took place about 20km from the circuit, while free practice was proceeding regularly, but the long meeting - which lasted four hours - between the leaders of Formula 1, the FIA ​​and the local authorities, on the matter, decided the fate of the weekend in a positive way. At least positive for the show.

The drivers were more reluctant to accept the situation, convinced that it was a delicate issue to deal with, and that conditions were not the best, even if the local authorities had promised total safety.

Regardless of the drivers' intentions, however, it seems that the Saudi Arabian GP, ​​which recently signed a long agreement with F1, will continue to be present on the calendar also in 2023.

The Saudi government has expressed its desire to redeem itself and to let Formula 1 find, next time, a much safer environment. Saudi Arabia's sports minister, His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal, commented on the incident and said he is "open to giving F1 all the reassurance it needs".

“We haven’t got into the details. yet but we are open to discussions.

“We are open to sit down, see where the issues are, what the assurances are they need,” – he said – “Whatever they want, we are here to host F1 as best as it can be anywhere in the world”.

“So we will definitely have an open discussion with them to see what their feedback is, to discuss with them and see what their concerns are about. We will show them everything.”

The intentions to continue racing in Saudi Arabia are high, also thanks to the fact that next year the event will change location, with a new track that should be built in the locality of Qiddiya.

“We are here for a long-term partnership for a reason, because we see where we’re going,” he said.

“We want to grow with the sport. We know the importance of F1 and we want to be part of the international community. We want to be present. We want everyone to come to Saudi Arabia and feel like as if they’re going anywhere else in the world. 

“These issues unfortunately do happen, they happen everywhere in the world and we have to deal with them in the best possible way.”

“We were always accused for being shut out,” he said referring to what happened last year, when Formula E was in Saudi Arabia and a similar thing happened.

“The first tourist visa happened because of Formula E. It was the first time we issued tourist visas because of that event.

“From there, suddenly, we have gone from one of the most difficult visas to acquire to one of the easiest visas to acquire, with I think more than 50 countries' visas upon arrival and so on.

“Nobody understood what Saudi Arabia is. We’re telling to the world come and understand what Saudi Arabia is, but now we’re being accused for being too open. We are doing things very, very, very quickly and so on.

“At the end of the day, there is a drive because of this. The people want this. If the people don’t want this, it would not have happened. But the people want this, they see, they’re all engaged in social media, they see what other countries have.”

“We're a young nation. We're learning, we're moving forward, and we have a lot to develop on and a lot to prosper towards, and a lot to fix,” he explained.

“Change is being done. Today you can see women and men working cohesively everywhere in the kingdom, even in ministries, when they weren't even allowed to go public areas before.

“So all of these things are a part of the change. Some of them we can change them very quickly. Some of them take time. But we're here to listen, to talk, to discuss.

“I'm sure you've seen a lot of politicians have visited the kingdom in the past couple of weeks, and they've discussed all of these issues. So we are here to move forward and to make Saudi a better place, and to live for a better future.”

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