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5 Nov 2020

Dan Roan, BBC

Formula 1: Saudi Arabia rejects criticism as debut race in 2021 confirmed

Sports Minister HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal said staging the race "perfectly reflects the transformational journey the country is on".

It is understood the deal is for at least 10 years...

Prince Abdulaziz insisted staging an F1 race in November in 2021 will result in "positive change".

"Saudi Arabia was criticised for being closed off to the world, and now we've opened up, we're criticised for sports-washing...

"For many Saudis this will be a dream come true. It's a very special moment. We can showcase to the world what we're capable of."

F1 has faced criticism from human rights campaigners in the past for staging races in Bahrain, Azerbaijan, Russia, Abu Dhabi and China...

Prince Abdulaziz said the race would be "the cherry on top of the cake", with Saudi Arabia hosting a growing number of international sports events as part of the country's 'Vision 2030' programme, designed to increase participation and tourism.