By Aaron Bearden, Contributing Writer
Season Five of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship will begin on the streets of Riyadh.
The tour announced on Thursday a new 10-year deal with Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority and Saudi Arabian Motor Federation that will see Formula E compete in the nation’s capital for the first time in December. The circuit will be created on the outskirts of the city.
Thursday’s announcement came from Formula E Founder and CEO Alejandro Agag, accompanied by His Royal Highness Prince Khaled Bin Sultan Bin Abdullah AlFaisal, President of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation, and His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal Al Saud, Vice-Chair of the Saudi Arabia General Sports Authority.
Pending confirmation of the calendar by the FIA World Motor Sport Council, the E-Prix will be the first Formula E event held in the Middle East. It will also serve as the competitive debut of the new second generation car.
“Bringing racing to Riyadh for the first round of the new season is the perfect setting for the next phase of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship,” Agag said. “An exciting and vibrant country that is focusing on its future, Saudi Arabia will be the ideal venue to mark the competitive debut of the next generation Formula E cars.
“We think Saudi Arabia – with the new vision of Prince Abdulaziz, Prince Khalid and the country – is a fitting location to launch the latest chapter of the electric street racing series. Many other sports are already increasing their presence in Saudi Arabia and we’re proud that they’ve chosen Formula E over other categories in racing.”
The addition of Formula E continues a recent push from Saudi Arabia in the sports and entertainment sectors. Riyadh played host to the annual Race of Champions – a tournament-style event that pits drivers from multiple disciplines and countries against each other – in February. The city of Jeddah also recently played host to the WWE.
“Saudi Arabia is looking to the future and Formula E is the motorsport of the future, that’s why this is such an exciting opportunity,” His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz said. “It aligns perfectly with the country’s 2030 vision and offers the prospect of world-class racing on the streets of the capital for the first time in our history. For all fans, men, women, young and old, the dream of a hosting a ‘home race’ will now come true.
“As a driver myself, who cares about growing the sport, nothing could make me happier. The length of the partnership will give Saudi Arabia and Formula E the platform to create a lasting legacy for both the sport globally and the Kingdom over the course of a decade.”
Additional details about the location and layout of the circuit will be revealed at a later date.