Saudi Arabia want to buy F1 team, have Saudi driver

The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix has been present on the F1 calendar for the past two seasons.

While the growth of F1 in the USA is often talked about, the influence of the Middle East has somewhat flown under the radar in recent years.

The 2023 F1 calendar will see a Grand Prix take place in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Abu Dhabi, with the number of races in the Middle East increasing in the past few seasons.

Saudi Arabia also reportedly had a $20bn bid to purchase Formula One reject by current owners Liberty Media, showing the Kingdom’s intent to progress their F1 project.

Aramco are a Saudi oil company that sponsor F1 itself as well as Aston Martin, while NEOM are affiliated with McLaren.

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It has been reported in recent weeks that Saudi Arabia are trying to tempt these two teams over to the Kingdom, encouraging them to set up headquarters in the Saudi Arabia rather than remaining in the UK.

HRH Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Adbullah Al-Faisal, who is the chairman of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation and Saudi Motorsport Company, has explained that Saudi Arabia’s F1 journey is just beginning, with the Kingdom hoping to form a team or driver of its own in the future.

“When I was young, I was really proud to see the name of a company from Saudi Arabia in such a prestigious, international sport such as Formula 1,” he said.

“The link between Saudi Air and Williams had progressed to us hosting an F1 race and now we see more Saudi companies partnering with F1, including Aramco with Aston Martin and NEOM with McLaren.

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“In the future I expect this relationship to grown and play a bigger role so we might be able to have our own Saudi F1 team, or F1 driver in the future.”

The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix came under a lot of scrutiny last season, as the race still took place despite missile strikes landing only a few miles away from the racetrack.

The human rights record in the Kingdom has also been questioned by many, with Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton both displaying rainbows over the course of the race weekend in support of the LGBT community.