Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 29 November 2020

Saudi Arabia Grand Prix to be held on November 28, 2021, as Vietnam is dropped from F1 calendar

Vietnam's first GP – cancelled in 2020 due to Covid-19 – has been left off next year's calendar, which features a record 23 races

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will take place next November a week before the season-ending Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after Formula One published its draft calendar for 2021 on Tuesday.

The kingdom’s inaugural F1 race will be staged on a street circuit in Jeddah on November 28, beginning and concluding on the city’s corniche and running along the Red Sea.

Vietnam's first F1 grand prix in Hanoi, cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, has been dropped from next year's calendar, which features a record 23 races.

Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al Faisal, president of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation said: “To confirm the exact date of 28th November 2021 as the official date and first Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix while seeing the name of Jeddah now alongside legendary F1 locations such as Monaco, Silverstone, Singapore and Suzuka, fills me with immense pride and excitement in equal measures.

“Today we take another step forward on our F1 journey. The Saudi people can look forward to coming together in 2021 for a historic weekend of motorsport and celebration like never before.

"Fans already know what we can do through the experiences we have given at Formula E and Dakar.

"Now we will go up a gear to reach new heights. An enormous amount of work lies ahead but with the support of the Quality of Life Initiative under Vision 2030 already the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation has exciting plans in place to share this event with all and enrich the lives of all who attend.”

The addition of Saudi Arabia to the F1 calendar means there will be three Gulf races in 2021. The Bahrain Grand Prix takes place on March 28, a week after the season opener in Australia.

Abu Dhabi retains its traditional season-finale slot, with the 2021 edition set for December 5 at Yas Marina Circuit.

The absence of the Vietnamese GP on next year's calendar has been attributed to the arrest of a key official responsible for organising the race.

Doubts about the race arose after Nguyen Duc Chung, who was Hanoi's mayor and a major supporter of the grand prix, was arrested on corruption charges in August.

The April 25 slot was left vacant, with various circuits used this year to patch gaps left by cancellations due to the pandemic reportedly in the frame, including Portugal's Algarve circuit, Imola in Italy and Turkey's Istanbul track.

There has been no word from Vietnamese authorities on whether the race, postponed from April and then cancelled because of the coronavirus, would make its belated debut next year.

Updated: November 10, 2020 02:53 PM

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