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Restaurants, gyms, beach football: Saudi Arabia’s first Formula 1 is already changing Jeddah, race boss says

DJEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s first Formula One Grand Prix will leave a legacy in Jeddah long after the checkered flag ends the race itself, the event’s CEO has promised.

The racing world will be sweeping the city early next month, with the race itself slated for December 5th.

Speaking to Arab News, Martin Whitaker spoke about the developments the city will see as it hosts the global sporting event, including outdoor gymnasiums, beach volleyball, beach soccer, paddle tennis and 18 total restaurants under construction on the Jeddah Corniche promenade.

“So all of these facilities will be there long after the Grand Prix. And so basically they’re here 365 days a year. It is therefore an extension of this community value and a real positive legacy for the city of Jeddah, ”he said.

Whitaker added: “As we know, thousands of people visit the Corniche every day and night, and this will allow us to lengthen walkways and cycle paths, increase recreational opportunities.

The race will be Saudi Arabia’s first-ever Grand Prix and around 500 million people are expected to watch its broadcast.

“This is a special event for Saudi Arabia, the first Formula 1 Grand Prix to take place in the Kingdom. This is a massive event not only for the city of Jeddah, but more importantly for the Kingdom as a whole, ”he said.

Whitaker believes Jeddah’s location gives it an advantage when it comes to hosting such events.

“It’s a fantastic heritage, a great culture, a fantastic community, the warmth of the Saudi people, the hospitality they show – it’s on the shores of the Red Sea,” said Whitaker, who has it. described as “a fantastic advertisement for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Arab News presented the four Formula 1 2022 model cars in the logistics area of ​​the event.

“This is just one example of the type of activity that is already happening here. Thousands of people are already clearly employed in the construction, as well as in organizing the race, ”Whitaker told Arab News.

These cars demonstrate the new aerodynamic profile that Formula 1 cars will have in 2022.

“You can see that they are different in their look from the current car; the rear spoiler is completely unique. And the idea is that this aerodynamic design is going to make the show even better, ”he said.

“Formula 1 is a fantastic global sport because we know it is watched by millions of people every weekend. Racing is just going to get better with this particular car design, and this designer car will be the platform on which the new regulations enter not only in 2022, but as we evolve the sport in the years to come. come, ”he said. added.

As Formula 1 nears its future regulations, sustainability and environmental concerns are clearly at the top of the list, Whitaker said.

He explained that new regulations would come into force in 2026 for engines.

“More hybrid engines that are going to focus more on the sustainable activities that Formula 1 embraces,” he said.

Designating the four show cars for 2022, he said these were the new Formula 1 designs that will be seen on track next year.

“These cars are more efficient and offer much better races. And so basically that’s what is happening from a Formula One point of view from a circuit point of view, we are very committed to sustainability, ”he said.

The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is ​​working with the International Automobile Federation (FIA), the United Nations and the Ministry of Sports to ensure that the event is as sustainable as possible.

“There are a lot of things that we are working on. Whether it’s the redevelopment, for example, of the lagoon area here on the Jeddah Corniche or the many activities we embrace inside the circuit during the race weekend. But there’s a lot to come, a lot that we’re doing for the first race. We’re very committed to the sustainability element of this race, and that’s something I think everyone should watch out for and be proud of as we move forward into the future, ”he said.

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