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Saudi Arabia open to hosting two races in 2021

Organisers of the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix say they would be open to running two Formula 1 events if asked by championship officials.

Saudi Arabia will join the calendar later this year with the 27-turn Jeddah Corniche Circuit due to host Formula 1 on December 5.

It is set to be the penultimate round of the 23-event season, with the traditional curtain-closer scheduled for December 12, at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit.

Formula 1’s calendar in the closing months of the campaign remains in a state of flux amid ongoing issues relating to the pandemic.

Australia was set to precede Saudi Arabia, on November 21, but that event has been cancelled, leaving a four-week gap after the Sao Paulo Grand Prix – which itself is uncertain.

Formula 1 has remained largely in Europe since the outbreak of the pandemic but has successfully hosted events in the Middle East, giving officials a degree of confidence that it can rely on the region.

It is understood that Qatar’s Losail Circuit, or a revival of Bahrain’s Outer Layout, are candidates for a grand prix in November, in order for Formula 1 to reach its target of 23 grands prix.

But Saudi Arabia’s race promoter Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Faisal says doubling up at Jeddah could be an option.

“I’m sure Formula 1 has a lot of partners in Europe and the Middle East, different parts of the world, that they can accommodate and race,” he said.

“We haven’t been asked by Formula 1 to accommodate a second race but everything is on schedule regarding our preparation, our construction, so if needed to host a race before our [confirmed] race I think we can accommodate that.

“With everything happening globally, if it is an issue for Formula 1, we need what’s best for the championship.

“For us we want to focus on the first race, it is our first race, we have nice plans in terms of promotion and activities and opening ceremony for the event.

“But in the end if it is a must and they need another country then we can be an option if it will help Formula 1.”

Formula 1 hosted successive events in Austria, Britain and Bahrain as part of the pandemic-hit 2020 calendar.

Austria again stepped in to host back-to-back grands prix at the same venue in 2021 in the wake of Canada’s round being cancelled for a second successive season.

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