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Saudi Arabia Formula E races to go ahead as planned

Formula E has announced that its Saudi Arabia night races will go ahead as planned in late February and will move to become the opening round of the 2021 season. 

Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, Audi e-tron FE06

Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, Audi e-tron FE06

Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Ahead of its first campaign with FIA World Championship status, FE was dealt a blow last month when the double-header round in Santiago was postponed. 

The two races in the Chilean capital were meant to open the season across 16-17 January but were delayed following the rapid spread of a new variant of the COVID virus in the UK. 

This led to the Chilean government prohibiting all non-resident foreign nationals that had been in the UK from entering the country. 

However, FE has now issued a very brief tweet on social media confirming that the Saudi Arabia event will maintain its 26-27 February date.

The commitment comes a day after UK prime minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation ahead of a third lockdown. 

The announcement read: “Diriyah E-Prix will kick-off Season 7 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship with Formula E’s first night races on February 26 & 27 2021.” 

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The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior did suspend all international flights in and out of the country, except in “exceptional cases”, but lifted the limitations on 3 January.  

However, travellers coming from a country where the new strain has been detected – including the UK - must spend at least 14 days outside the affected country before entering Saudi Arabia. The championship is still working with the Chilean government to reschedule the races, with a new date originally targeted for “later in Q1”. 

Later this month, FE will reveal new dates for the 2021 calendar - with the original schedule first issued in June by FE and the FIA before being retracted. 

All the FE cars are currently in South America, having been freighted directly from pre-season testing at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia early last month.  

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