Liberty Media target Saudi Arabia as venue with 24-race season planned
Liberty Media are in discussions with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with a view to adding a race there from 2021, according to reports.
The Times noted that Liberty have held advanced discussions with a number of prospective venues, including Argentina, Morocco, Denmark and South Africa, with Vietnam and Netherlands already locked in to join the circuit.
But it is thought that negotiations with Saudi Arabia are advanced and the country could be part of Liberty Media’s planned calendar expansion for 2021.
With new rule changes set for that year, Liberty have made no secret of their desire to expand the number of races in order to increase revenues and are particularly keen to add another race in the US - with Miami a long-term attraction - and another round in China also options.
Bahrain and Abu Dhabi are already part of the calendar and it is thought that both parties are keen to add another Middle East race to tie in with its growing popularity in the region.
Saudi Arabia’s grim human rights record and press freedom issues - brought to light again this year with the brutal murder and subsequent cover-up of journalist Jamal Khashoggi - will mean that it will not be a popular venue among fans, media or sponsors. But with other sports such as WWE and football securing extremely lucrative deals to host events there, Liberty may see any such offer as too good to turn down.
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