According to reports, Formula One owners, Liberty Media are gunning to bring the sport to Saudi Arabia. If discussions are successful, a grand prix in the Kingdom may be in place for the 2021 season.
London’s Times newspaper reported that there are talks between Saudi officials and F1’s owner. In fact, they claimed that these talks have taken place “several” times.
Times’ Rebecca Clancy admitted that the “teams have been asked for their views” regarding racing in Saudi Arabia. The nation has often come under fire for numerous human rights violations. Further supporting it is the fact that over the years, there were issues in the buildup to the Bahrain Grand Prix.
However, with the expansion of the currently 21-race calendar to 22 races next year and again in 2021, controversy will not be far behind.
“If you look at 2021, at the moment we are discussing for 24 races,” said Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto.
Naturally, the idea of having to travel to 24 races has a number of teams worried. Williams F1 team boss, Claire Williams confirmed: “We are incredibly worried about the prospect of having 24, 25 races on the calendar.
“Asking the people who work for us to travel as much as that is a huge undertaking,” she said.
“Bringing new parts to 21 races is hard work, bringing new parts to 25 is going to bring even more pressure on our businesses, so that for me is a huge concern.”
With the likes of Vietnam and Miami being added to the Formula one roster in 2020, more races will stress the teams even further. Liberty Media’s aim is to have at least 25 Grands Prix in a single season. However, with the future of some races in doubt, they may find it difficult to achieve that target.
Saudi Arabia has already hosted a couple of races, namely a Formula E street race in Ad Diriyah, last year. More races will definitely push the teams to the absolute limit in terms of management. Especially considering that the power units and gearboxes are very limited. More races would mean that teams would have to ensure that one power unit and gearbox lasts even longer.
There is also the fact that there will be a lot more travelling involved and fewer days of holiday. In other words, things will be very gruelling for the teams if Liberty Media get their wish.