Saudi F1 promoter has discussed human rights concerns with drivers

Saudi Arabia’s race promoter says he has already met with some Formula 1 drivers to discuss their concerns about the country’s human rights record ahead of December's grand prix.

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will take place in Jeddah later this year as part of a 10-year deal for the nation to stage an F1 race, with a view to moving to the new entertainment city of Qiddiya in the future.

But the decision to hold a race in Saudi Arabia has led to criticism from bodies such as Amnesty International, which said the event would “be part of ongoing efforts to sportswash the country's abysmal human rights record”.

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has previously the “massive problem” surrounding human rights in some of the countries F1 races in, and spoke to officials in Bahrain about the matter earlier this year.

The promoter of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and chairman of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Faisal, said that he would be happy to discuss such concerns with “not only Lewis Hamilton, with anyone, in terms of a normal person, or the media”.

“I met at Silverstone with a couple of drivers,” Prince Khalid revealed in a select media roundtable on Monday including Motorsport.com.

“I’m not going to name their names, but Lewis Hamilton wasn’t one of them. I addressed their concerns and I spoke with them openly.

“I said, listen, I’m not going to tell you anything, you come to Saudi Arabia and you see it, and if you want to come here before the race, you can come, and you judge by yourself.

“Whatever I say about my country, it’s better for you to come and see it yourself, meet with the local people, and then you can have your opinion.

“I’m sure you have friends from teams that came for Formula E or for Dakar. You can ask them, and they can give their opinion.

“You can come and have a chance to see our country freely, and then you can say your opinion about our country, because we’re confident about what we progress and where we are going. So we have no issues [discussing it].”

Saudi Arabia has been hosting a rising number of major international sporting events in recent years, including a Formula E event at Diriyah since 2018 and the Dakar Rally since 2020.

F1 has been vocal in its own CSR programme, We Race As One, since the start of the 2020 season, pushing to make the series more diverse and inclusive, as well as highlighting other important social matters.

Asked by Motorsport.com what the race was doing in line with F1’s own We Race As One programme, Prince Khalid said they were “working closely” to “align in our missions”.

“As of now, things are progressing really good between us,” he said.

“This is part of our strategy, in Saudi Arabia, to open up our country.

“We want to prove the quality of life for anybody, for the Saudis or anyone that visits Saudi Arabia. This will help us achieve our goals.”

Read Also:

shares
comments

Related video

McLaren: "Not unrealistic" for Norris to target P3 in championship

Previous article

McLaren: "Not unrealistic" for Norris to target P3 in championship

Next article

Saudi Arabia eyes early 2022 slot on F1 calendar

Saudi Arabia eyes early 2022 slot on F1 calendar
Load comments
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Prime

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Prime

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers Prime

How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory Prime

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Prime

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021
Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems Prime

Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton dominated the opening day of action for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, on the Istanbul circuit’s much improved track surface. But the Black Arrows squad’s position isn’t quite what it seems. Here’s why...

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021
The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower Prime

The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower

On 8 October 1961, Innes Ireland claimed victory at the United States Grand Prix to herald the true arrival of a new Formula 1 giant. While Team Lotus endured plenty of highs and lows until the team folded over three decades later, Colin Chapman's squad made F1 history and helped shape the championship.

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021