Ex-Formula One driver Alex Wurz believes his newly designed circuit in Qiddiya could stage an an F1 Saudi Arabia Grand Prix.
A report in The Times last August suggested discussions had already begun between F1’s owners Liberty Media and Saudi Arabia about hosting a Grand Prix in the Kingdom, which has just staged the Dakar Rally for the first time.
A street race in Jeddah was reportedly one option on the table with F1.
And Wurz, a two-time Le Mans winner who raced for 10 years in F1 for Benetton and Williams, believes his new FIA Grade 1 circuit could host an F1 Saudi Arabia Grand Prix as soon as 2023.
“The visionary Qiddiya project offers us amazing opportunities to design a track, a true racing arena for drivers, spectators, as well as the viewers at home,” Wurz said.
“The design offers amazing elevation changes, making use of the stunning natural landscape. Equally the design is made to challenge drivers and engineers alike.
“And from our simulation runs, I can assure you it is absolutely thrilling as an on- and off-track experience.
“Qiddiya has all it takes to become the motorsport capital of the world.”
Qiddiya, the scene of one of the most ambitious city projects in the world.— DAKAR RALLY (@dakar) January 17, 2020
The project, built on the cornerstones of parks, nature, the arts and motorsports will form one of the most advanced spaces ever seen upon its opening in 2023.#Dakar2020 #DakarExplore #Qiddiya pic.twitter.com/Bi8fLHt130
The unveiling of the design was attended by 1996 F1 champion Damon Hill, as well as ex-Formula One drivers David Coulthard and Nico Hulkenberg, current Haas F1 racer Romain Grosjean and former MotoGP rider Loris Capirossi.
“We’re building so that we’re able to host MotoGP events, WEC, regional and national championship events, and all the all the way up through F1,” Mike Reininger, CEO of the Qiddiya Investment Company, told Autosport.
“We’re building the facilities so that we can ultimately host the biggest and the best motorsports events, really in all categories. And Grade 1 is synonymous with F1, so we’re hopeful that that comes to pass for us.”
An F1 Saudi Arabia Grand Prix would be the third race to come to the Middle East; the Bahrain Grand Prix has been on the Formula One Calendar since 2004, while the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has taken place each year since 2009.