Despite the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix becoming one of the most complaint-ridden races of 2022 thanks to not only the country’s questionable human rights, but also due to the terror attack merely 12km away from the track during Friday’s practice sessions, it’s looking as though the sport will return next year.
Jennie Gow, a journalist, presenter, and Formula E commentator, has confirmed on Twitter that the F1 will return to the Jeddah Corniche Circuit despite the outrage from fans.
“F1 intend to return to Saudi next season,” Gow’s tweet read.
F1 intend to return to Saudi next season.
— Jennie Gow (@JennieGow) March 29, 2022
Fans were quick to respond, questioning the reasoning behind this move.
“Saudi Arabia in March executed 81 ppl. accused of crimes ranging from killings to belonging to militant groups,” one user wrote. “It was the largest known mass execution carried out in the kingdom’s modern history. F1 just has to issue an ultimatum requiring S.A. to stop public executions or else.” (sic)
A second admitted that they don’t think the track is up to the safety standards of F1, mirroring what drivers have said previously even after recent changes to its layout:
“As far as I am concerned, the circuit is bizarre,” they tweeted. “There is no safety for drivers and the race lacks entertainment. Definitely should be removed.
“But well, they pay $55 Millions in race hosting fee. Is F1 gonna say no to that sweet sweet money?”
“We Race As mONEy,” (sic) another jokes as they rip into the F1 slogan.
What strikes me is how quickly F1 was happy to cut all ties with the Russian Grand Prix after the country’s invasion of Ukraine, compared to the fight they’re putting up to keep Saudi Arabia, despite the country being accused of committing war crimes in Yemen.
Obviously, politics and financials are in play here, with the Saudi-owned ARAMCO company being not only a name sponsor of Aston Martin, but a sponsor of many of the tracks of the F1 calendar. If F1 was to pull out of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, this would result in a huge financial blow to the organisation, and one which would dramatically change the sport.
Don't insult Bond villains that way.
Bond villains are usually competent…
— Anthony 🏁 (@ant_iuculano) March 29, 2022
It was recently rumoured that Lewis Hamilton doesn’t want to return to the track:
“I am so happy the weekend is done and I am also just so happy that everyone is safe.
“I am looking forward to getting out.”
“I just want to go home.”