A general view over the circuit as the grid preparations take place during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 27, 2022 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Having F1 races in the Middle East is 'beneficial' for all, claims Saudi Motorsport Company boss

Saudi Motorsport Company CEO Martin Whitaker believes too many F1 races in the Gulf are not a problem for the market. The British Motorsport professional believes that despite the competition between the races in the Middle East region, they all cater to different audiences.

Speaking in a press release about the F1 races in the Gulf, Whittaker said:

“You only have to look at either automobile franchises or global consumer brands and they all tend to congregate in the same area on the high street. Yes, there is competition between them, but they are stronger together than they would be if they were all disparate. The analogy with F1 races is the same."

Whittaker explained how races in the Gulf help develop the sport and pointed out that the regions are far from each other. He said:

"Saudi Arabia is part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and it’s beneficial for all of us in the region to have Formula 1 races as it increases awareness and helps develop the sport."

He added:

"Actually, while it might seem close — the distance between Bahrain and Jeddah is about 1,500km further than the distance between Silverstone and Budapest [2,000km] — and there are a lot of races that are held between these two European venues. So the location of the races in the Middle East are not as close as you think.”
We're just getting started... @trvisXX will be on his way to the 2023 #F1 stc #SaudiArabianGP, who will be joining him?

أنتم اخترتم وسمعنا رأيكم! ترافيس سكوت أول نجم نعلن عنه لجائزة السعودية الكبرى stc للفورمولا 1 لموسم 2023.

ما هي توقعاتكم عن النجم المقبل الذي سنعلن عنه؟

With Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and UAE hosting F1 races, there are a plethora of options for fans in the Middle East region and areas around. SMC CEO Whittaker believes that the presence of the four races has increased awareness about the sport in the area.

Saudi Motorsport Company CEO believes Jeddah will continue to produce great F1 races

The inaugural Saudi Arabian F1 GP witnessed the Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen rivalry at its peak prior to the controversial finale in 2021. Similarly, the second Saudi Arabian race also produced good track action between the Dutchman and Charles Leclerc.


Martin Whittaker, the CEO of the Saudi Motorsport Company, believes that this will continue to remain the trend. While there were concerns about the circuit being too quick and lethal, drivers previously voiced their concerns about some sections being extremely narrow.

Speaking about the track, Whittaker said:

“There’s absolutely no doubt about it — the drivers love this track and many have voiced this opinion. They love the surface, the grip and the speed. To be honest I’d be worried if they didn’t love it being a fast track. A challenging track is what excites an F1 driver."

He added:

"There are overtaking opportunities around the track and we have seen this in the two events to date. Perhaps more importantly the layout flows really well and this is what the drivers love."

Explaining the success of the two F1 events in Saudi Arabia, Whittaker said:

"We’ve had two fantastic races, the first with Lewis Hamilton beating Max Verstappen in 2021 and then last year that brilliant battle between Verstappen and Charles Leclerc. I’ve no doubt that we’re in for another cracking race this year.”
2021: Hamilton vs Verstappen

2022: Verstappen vs Leclerc

Don’t miss the next battle for victory on March 17-19! Book your tickets now!


#فورمولا1_في_السعودية #SaudiArabianGP

Whittaker believes the challenges of the circuit make it a unique one on the calendar, making it coin its identity of being the fastest street circuit in the world. The Jeddah circuit also ends up being one of the venues that have maximum race incidents, penalties, and safety car moments, similar to Singapore and Baku.

Edited by
Aditya Singh
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