Saudi Arabia to announce launch of future F1 Grand Prix circuit

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Plans for a future Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will take a key step with the launch of the proposed circuit at Qiddiya, InsideRacing understands.

On Tuesday, reports emerged stemming from a Daily Mail article which claimed the Middle East nation was soon to announce a Formula 1 race from 2021, possibly on a street circuit as a stop-gap while construction of the facility takes place.

However, local sources have revealed that while talks between Saudi officials and F1 are continuing, the announcement will actually be of an event to mark the launch of the Qiddiya project with several F1 drivers expected to be present.

On the current timeframe, a first Grand Prix could take place as soon as 2023 when Phase 1 of the ambitious plans for the project is expected to be completed.

Previously, it has been reported by RaceFans that the Qiddiya circuit could surpass Spa-Francorchamps as the longest on the calendar while a former F1 driver is believed to be leading to design process.

The arrival of F1 would mark another big moment as Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman implements his Vision 2030, which sees the country open up and diversify away from a reliance on oil.

Already, many sports have held events in the Kingdom with Formula E and the Dakar Rally representing motorsports.

In the future, the World Rally and World Rallycross championships are also expected to visit the country.

As for F1, Saudi Arabia would be the third race destination in the Middle East after Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, but a spokesman for the former welcomed the possibility.

"Since our first race in 2004, our goal has been to grow the fanbase for motorsport in the region," Motorsport Week quoted him as telling the Daily Mail.

"We would, therefore, welcome initiatives which can support that growth and believe that a future race in Saudi Arabia would be complementary."