Mexico close to F1 deal but is Saudi Arabia?

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It hasn’t been officially announced by Formula 1 yet but an article over at Autosport says the Mexican Grand Prix will remain on the Formula 1 calendar after its current contract expires at the end of this season.

The challenge was the withdrawal of public funding for the event and this is despite the sellout crowds and massive local support for the race. According to Adam Cooper in the article, the promoters have been negotiating with F1 this year to close a del on a three-year agreement even though the initial deal was for five years.

The Mexican GP official Twitter feed released a statement:

“I want to share some good news that I just received,” she said.

“Formula 1 is staying in Mexico City. The FIA president is going to be here tomorrow to sign it. This is good news for the city.

“I also want to tell you that this is thanks to a group of businessmen who made this possible because this time the city is not using any public funds.

“It’s good news for the city. It brings tourism, it brings income, and it’s also good for the country.”

Difficult situation when the funding isn’t there and to be fair, I am sure the city believes there are many things they need the resources for instead of a race. Regardless, Silverstone has inked a deal, Mexico looks set to do the same and rumors suggest that both the Spanish GP and the Italian GP will ink a deal soon too. This leaves Germany in the balance.

Saudi Arabia

In similar news, there was an article over at The Times that says F1 is in discussion with the Saudi Arabian government about hosting a race there. The ESPN article says that F1 and the 10 teams would seek reassurance on issues including human rights, gender equality and media freedom before any race would occur there.

This is an interesting demand on a country that, despite the glowing photo app of Aseel Al-Hamad driving a Renault Formula One car around the French Grand Prix circuit back in 2018, just allowed women to actually drive cars last year.

“I believe today is not just celebrating the new era of women starting to drive, it’s also the birth of women in motorsport in Saudi Arabia,” she told Reuters.

Meanwhile, women have been driving cars as long as cars have been around in the UK and America so while progress was made, one has to wonder if the sport that banned grid girls is ready to embrace a host nation that can barely recognize women as capable of driving a car.

The sport has come under criticism already for its presence in Bahrain, Russia and China due to human rights and political challenges/concerns so it will be interesting to see if they agree to racing in Riyadh.

Hat tip: Autosport and ESPN

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