Exclusive: Cristiano Ronaldo’s representatives dismiss alleged Saudi Arabian GP obligation

It was reported earlier this week that Cristiano Ronaldo had a contractual obligation to attend the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Cristiano Ronaldo has no contractual obligation to attend this weekend’s 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah, representatives of the Portuguese forward have told Formula1News.co.uk.

The 38-year-old joined Al-Nassr FC in the Saudi Pro League from Manchester United during the winter transfer window, and it had been reported that he would be attending round two of the 2023 F1 season in Saudi Arabia as part of his lucrative mega-deal with the club.

However, The Sports PR Company – a public relations agency which represents Ronaldo – has told Formula1News.co.uk that he will not attend the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, nor does he have any contractual obligation to do so.

In a statement, Ronaldo’s representatives described the reports of him being forced to attend the grand prix as “entirely false.”

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Earlier on Wednesday, London Insider cited unnamed sources as describing the aforementioned reports as “fake news” and “patently false.”

“It’s fake news. Any notion that Cristiano will be attending the race in Saudi Arabia as part of his deal with Al-Nassr FC is baseless and patently false,” the source insisted.

“He will not be at the grand prix or any related events over the course of the weekend,” they added.

This weekend’s race at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit will be Saudi Arabia’s third Formula 1 grand prix in as many years.

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The track has attracted criticism in previous years due to the blind nature of some of the high-speed corners and the lack of run-off areas.

The FIA, in coordination with the organisers of the grand prix, have made several changes to the circuit ahead of this year’s race in a bid to improve driver safety.

Speaking on the F1 Nation podcast this week, Saudi Arabian Grand Prix CEO Martin Whitaker outlined some of these changes.

“The drivers are going to be I think, really quite pleased because obviously the first time they get a chance to have a look will be when they walk around on Thursday,” he said.

“But during the winter months, we’ve again made some quite interesting changes to improve the sight lines.

“So, on five of the corners, we’ve moved the fences back by anything between two and seven metres. So in some places, it’s quite a marked change to the overall look and feel of the circuit.

“Then we’ve also removed the steel plates that we’d put in on the inside of a number of the corners. The concrete barriers are effectively edged to go around a corner, so they have shoulders.

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“So actually the FIA said ‘no, we’re quite happy with those, let’s remove the steel plates’. We’ve removed those from six corners.

“There is a change to one of the corners. The perimeter of the track has not changed apart from in one place, and that is [Turn] 22, 23. That corner has been tightened, so that will make that corner probably 30 kilometres slower.

“So therefore, they will be going on to effectively the back straight or that long curve between 23 and 27, they will be entering that at a slower pace. So it’ll be interesting to see how that works out.”

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