Australia will let Saudi Arabia host 2024 season opener ‘out of respect for Ramadan’

Prior to the pandemic, the Australian Grand Prix was the traditional season opener, a role which has since been taken by Bahrain.

According to reports from the Victoria Government in Australia, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is set to host the 2024 season opener, “out of respect for Ramadan”.

This wasn’t the only thing that was announced by the government, who also revealed that Formula 1’s already long deal with Melbourne would be extended by a further two years, meaning the Australian Grand Prix will remain on the calendar until 2037.

As well as extending the current deal by a further two years, the Australian GP has also been granted the luxury of hosting the season opener “at least four times” during their current deal, but that 2024 won’t be one of those.

The Australian GP prior to the pandemic was the traditional first race of the season and had been for quite some time, with it having hosted the season opener all but four times (excluding 2020 when it was cancelled due to the global outbreak of COVID-19) since 1996.

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When the event at Albert Park hasn’t hosted the opening race, the Sakhir International Circuit has, something it will do for a fifth time in 2023.

The Bahrain Grand Prix has proven to be an exciting season opener, with it also seemingly happening at a time that suits the majority of the world.

That is one of the issues with the race in Australia, as for those in Europe it involves waking up early, whilst in North America it requires them to stay up late.

When it will next host the opening race after 2023 is an unknown question currently, but it does look set that Australia, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia might host the opener on a rotational basis.

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An interesting point raised, though, is that F1 is seemingly putting Saudi Arabia ahead of Bahrain in 2024 despite both nations celebrating Ramadan, perhaps highlighting that Saudi Arabia also have a genuine interest in hosting the first race of the season.

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Whether it will happen again after 2024 remains to be seen, but from the outside it looks like the sport are giving Saudi Arabia a chance to put on an incredible show to kickstart the season.

With Saudi Arabia and Bahrain both being night races, they do offer a better spectacle than Australia, with both the races in the Middle East having offered plenty of excitement.

The Australian GP has tended to be on the more boring side of things, something that is far from ideal to start a new season.