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Saudi Arabia wants Formula 1 teams in NEOM and Prince Khaled: “We have companies that can help the future of cars.”

The head of the Saudi Motorsports Federation reveals the plans of the sovereign wealth fund.

Jeddah Circuit, where the first two editions of the Formula 1 Grand Prix for Saudi Arabia took place © Pirelli

The future of Formula 1 may be in Saudi Arabia. Prince Khaled bin Sultan Al-Faisal said he plans to attract teams to move their operations centers to the Kingdom.

“We want to create a real point of reference, we have companies that can help in the future of cars” Prince, president of the Saudi Motorsports Federation, said in an interview with MotorSport magazine.

We are working towards that. We hope we can bring one of the major manufacturers here.”

Saudi Auto Valley.

The Oxagon floating complex, where McLaren opened its offices © NEOM
The Oxagon floating complex, where McLaren opened its offices © NEOM

All eyes are on McLaren and Aston Martin, given that the Public Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, owns smaller stakes. Right now, it seems unlikely that the two teams will be able to abandon their current headquarters In the UK, but who knows if a flagship center like the one promised by the Saudis might soon become a tangible option.

“The hub of motorsports” described by Prince Khalid In fact, it will be built in Neom, the famous futuristic city in Tabuk Governorate which is supposed to be completed by 2025. The Oxagon floating industrial research campus is also in the same area, where McLaren already has some offices. But moving all of its operations to Saudi Arabia would be a massive undertaking, as well as not very inconvenient given that the Woking team can currently count on more than 4,000 motorsport-related companies in England that produce a good portion of the components used by the seven companies. Divisions with operational bases in Britain.

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Why invest in Formula 1?

Prince Khaled in a single-seater Ferrari as Formula 1 comes to Saudi Arabia in 2021 © The National
Prince Khaled in a single-seater Ferrari as Formula 1 comes to Saudi Arabia in 2021 © The National

Saudi Arabia produces a fifth of the world’s oil and about half of the country’s GDP depends on fossil fuel extraction and export. For several years now the kingdom has been trying to do so Reducing its economic dependence on this sectoralso in view of the ecological transition that is so desired by European countries.

Thanks to the work of Liberty Media, Formula 1 is a fast growing sport. Sponsors have excellent visibility and the demands are more than ever. More and more fans choose to go to see their idols’ races, and this will bring more profits to tourism and services.

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In addition, motorsports boasts Close association with the automotive sector in which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is investing heavily. The Motor Valley in Emilia-Romagna has 16,500 companies with an export volume of about 5 billion euros. Although it will take several years to reach numbers similar to the Italian ones in Neum as well, the Saudis are showing their firm belief in motorsport. From Dakar to MotoGP, and even Formula 1, many categories now have fixed dates in the Arab country.

Our goal is not only to host international competitions. But he reassures Prince Khaled. “We want to have our own engineers and machinists. We want to make machines and be innovators.”.

Then we would like to have one of our champions, a rider who can compete in Formula 1 or MotoGP. […] There is still a long way to go, but we hope to reach our goal in 2030, 2035 or 2040.” He finished.

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