Saudi Arabia: Formula E’s Big Debut in the Middle East
Posted on: 11 December, 2018
The lights will go green on the highly anticipated Season 5 of the all-electric street racing championship on December 15, 2018 and we are counting down the days. As well as being the first time Formula E will have raced in the Middle East, it will see the debut of the new futuristic-looking Generation 2 race cars.
Formula E CEO and Founder Alejandro Agag is excited about this new era of the sport, saying, "For me that moment will be as big as the first start of the [inaugural] race in Beijing". This is going to be a special race for more than one reason.
Why Saudi Arabia?
The 10-year deal with the country's General Sports Authority starts with the first race of Season 5 taking place on a specially created track in the historic Ad Diriyah area on the outskirts of Riyadh.
For Saudi Arabia, which announced its Vision 2030 plan two years ago (part of which includes investing in new energy technology to ensure that it is not solely reliant on oil in the future), this is another step in racing towards becoming a socially and economically forward-thinking nation. The electric street-racing championship is an event that Saudi Arabia is proud to bring to the Kingdom to help bolster the country’s attraction for tourists as well as promote events and new technology.
When you consider Saudi Arabia is opening up to international sports fans for the first time – and we have a new partner who can connect those fans to our series – it really is a strong addition to the championship.
Alejandro Agag, Formula E CEO & Founder
His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki AlFaisal Al Saud, Vice-Chair of the Saudi Arabia General Sports Authority, said, "This is an exciting milestone for us. When you host international championships, you have international fans who want to attend. And, of course, the best way to see Saudi Arabia is to visit through sports, this isn’t just the first way, it is the best way…I want them to see my country, I want them to meet the people and to see who we really are. The best way for people to see the real Saudi Arabia is to come and this is their chance. We are very welcoming and I’m sure people will have a different point of view when they do."
Historical Meets Cutting-Edge
The first race of this season's ABB FIA Formula E Championship is an interesting blend of two contrasts. The race itself is futuristic, encouraging technological development in the electric mobility space, whilst the backdrop honours historical Ad Diriyah, the original capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 1744.
Ad Diriyah, the race venue, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located on the outskirts of the capital, Riyadh. The houses and buildings made from mud brick that were once a shelter from the heat of the desert and the narrow alleys and small streets all paint an ancient picture of the desert country. To this day the site remains rich and authentic in culture and heritage and race-goers will be thrilled to get a first-hand experience of this.
The 22 Gen2 Formula E cars will race against the ancient-looking backdrop on the 2.495km street track to compete for the first victory of the season.
The track features 21 corners and can be separated into two sections; the first half is a series of twisty technical turns, before moving into a straighter section with more basic corners.
Formula E's debut in the Kingdom will see a mix of world-class entertainment from both the sporting and music worlds as the event also features a series of concerts. The opening race will have the biggest music line-up Saudi has ever seen, with global superstars David Guetta, Enrique Iglesias, Jason Derulo, OneRepublic, Amr Diab and The Black Eyed Peas all performing as each race day comes to a close.
The Ad Diriyah Formula E site has a dedicated concert arena for the three nights, an E-Village entertainment area and cultural and heritage zones for families, as well as grandstands to accommodate the fans on the race day.
We’re excited and geared up for the first ever Formula E race in the Middle East and hope you are too. If you support Mahindra Racing and want to Fanboost us for the first race of the season, go ahead and VOTE FOR US.