The race in Jeddah is home to the fastest street circuit in the world
The race track is said to be the most advanced one on the F1 calendar
Aramco isn’t just the world’s largest oil company, it is the lynchpin of the Saudi Arabian sovereign fund as well. It is also the major sponsor for F1 and the backer of the newly christened Saudi Arabia GP which returns this weekend in Jeddah. But there’s a shade around the race in light of incredible hostilities between Saudi Arabia and its neighbours Yemen. This week Saudi Arabia intercepted a “hostile air target” after an Aramco distribution facility was attacked in Jeddah with missiles and drones. More than this, the Arab coalition has reported destroying more than 100 hostile boats that had explosives on board.
The F1 bosses from Liberty Media have revealed that they are monitoring the situation in Jeddah. This is critical as Jeddah is the home of Aramco and the F1 race is perhaps the biggest event of the year for the Saudi regime under prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS) who has been opening up the society.
Many human rights activists and drivers including Lewis Hamilton have voiced concerns over the dodgy human rights record of the country. F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali is of the opposing opinion as believed that F1’s presence is helping open up society.
Jeddah is home to the fastest street circuit on the planet which has speeds that exceed even Monza which has been dubbed the temple of speed for almost a century. Last year, it paid host to the penultimate race of the season which was a fiery encounter between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton where the title contenders clashed numerous times and Verstappen ended up being penalised. It also was notorious for crashes at high speed and after many drivers voiced criticism, there have been some changes made to the layout.
Many believe the high-speed nature of the track could suit the Red Bull RB18 this year, but with the gains, Ferrari has made, we are truly heading into the unknown. Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton are unlikely to be in the mix for the race win considering the issues Mercedes is having with the W13.
In the case the race is cancelled, there will be no replacement immediately, but rather likely it will be rescheduled for sometime later this year. Already because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian GP has been cancelled and will likely be replaced by a race in Qatar. With 23 races, this will be the longest F1 season of all time.
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