Site logo

It is F1's "duty" to continue in Saudi Arabia, insists Domenicali

NEWS STORY
04/04/2022

Stefano Domenicali insists that it is Formula One's duty to continue racing in Saudi Arabia.

As recently as 2019, Ross Brawn dismissed talk of a Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia, citing the country's human rights record.

Lo and behold, two years later F1 cars are racing through the streets of Jeddah, as the sport agrees a deal with Qatar, another nation not known for its benevolent attitude towards human rights.

While drivers had voiced concern over racing in Saudi Arabia they went along with it, even offering up the usual platitudes about how great it was to be there...

One voice of dissent was Lewis Hamilton, but he too went along with it, and while expressing his discomfort four months later when the sport returned never looked likely to boycott the event.

Then came the attack on a nearby oil depot during Friday morning practice, and suddenly there was talk of drivers wanting to abandon the event.

We shall probably have to wait until season 5 of Drive to Survive or even the inevitable book to discover what threats or deals were made over the next 24 hours but the show went ahead.

Nonetheless, as the 'circus' packed its bags there was talk of the sport not returning as, along with humans rights, there was now the question of safety and security.

Despite promises that talks would be held with the drivers and teams on the future of the race, speaking at the announcement of the Las Vegas event, Stefano Domenicali appeared confident that Saudi Arabia will continue to host F1, claiming that the sport has a "duty" to continue.

"I think that, as we discussed, the country has its own problem to grow," he said, according to SportsCenter, "and sport, F1 in general, has the duty to make sure that maximising attention on what is happening, is happening in the right direction.

"We don't want to do politics," he continued, "but for sure I do believe that the sport will help the country that wants to change its culture. It cannot happen from day to night, to be very important as a change.

"As F1 we need to do our duty to make sure something of such an importance can happen, and that's why we stay there," he insisted. "That's why we do believe that, working together, we can shape a better future in faster time."

Not wishing to appear sceptical as to the sport's altruistic intentions, it should be pointed out that F1 has already agreed a 15-year deal to race in Saudi Arabia, with hosting fees of around 50m ($65m) a year.

Then there's that 30m ($40m) a year sponsorship deal F1 has with state oil giant Aramco - whose oil depot was the target of last Friday's attack.

The sport has drawn widespread criticism for continuing to race in Saudi Arabia, particularly in light of the recent public execution of 81 'prisoners' in one day.

Two weeks before the recent Grand Prix, the U.N.'s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, revealed that the majority of the executions were of people who had taken part in protests in 2011-12 that called for greater political participation.

She also said that a number of the executions were connected to the ongoing conflict in Yemen between Houthis and a Saudi-led coalition.

"Our monitoring indicates that some of those executed were sentenced to death following trials that did not meet fair trial and due process guarantees, and for crimes that did not appear to meet the most serious crimes threshold, as required under international law," she said.

It was the Houthis who claimed credit for the oil depot attack.

LATEST NEWS

more news >

RELATED ARTICLES

LATEST IMAGES

galleries >

  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images

POST A COMMENT

or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment

READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Spindoctor, 05/04/2022 7:53

"@superbird70 - I expect Liberty are in negotiation with all those respected democratic regimes as we speak...."

Rating: Negative (-1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by kenji, 05/04/2022 0:01

"@Spindoctor...obviously you haven't been 'sportswashed'. Just out of interest, were you one of the followers of F1 that put their objections aside for a few hours and actually watched the race?"

Rating: Negative (-1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by Superbird70, 04/04/2022 22:43

"Next up for ' support for cultural change' Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Belarus, and Myanamar."

Rating: Negative (-3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by Spindoctor, 04/04/2022 13:47

"There are clearly nuances regarding nations' adherence to Human Rights, but some nations clearly have little or no respect for even the most basic of them.

Saudi Arabi is a particularly offensive example. The regime in Saudi oppressive & violent to its own citizens it's also waging a proxy war in Yemen with tactics straight out of the Assad\Putin playbook. They are not only killing & maiming thousands of innocents with a complete disregard for Geneva conventions, but also leading to a horrendous famine. The West doesn't come out of this much better, supporting Saudi - presumably to secure oil & gas & of course to gain valuable arms sales.
The Saudis are still manipulating (through OPEC) Oil & Gas supplies & prices as they did in 1973 much to the detriment of our economies & peoples.

There can be no excuse for Formula one accepting Saudi's cash to "Sportswash" the regime - even if it is ineffectual."

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

5. Posted by ARL, 04/04/2022 11:27

"The only time that sport has been reported to have any impact on politics was when all sport contact with South Africa was eventually banned during the apartheid era.

I do not believe that bringing sport to any of the countries with bad human rights issues has ever made an iota of difference. It simply shows that these nations can buy the international TV exposure and supposed gloss of F1.

Bernie took F1 to China, Russia and Bahrain and now any despot with enough cash can buy a place in the circus. If they don't have the money they can always give the promotion to Liberty associated company just like Vegas.

"Duty to take the money?" How low can "Liberty", now there's a misnomer, sink."

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

6. Posted by @R1Racing71, 03/04/2022 21:44

"Remind me who said that if ever they needed an alibi - it would be Domenicaly they would turn to."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

7. Posted by Elgar, 03/04/2022 15:05

"Stefano says "we don't want to do politics"!
But F1 quit Russia almost immediately after the invasion. This is POLITICS! If there are multiple sides to Saudi Arabia, there are certainly multiple sides to Russia."

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

8. Posted by Wokingchap, 03/04/2022 14:04

"A bit late for april fools jokes."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

9. Posted by JamesD, 03/04/2022 12:42

"I used to have a lot of time and respect for Stefano but since he took the Liberty dollar it's sadly all about how much more money they can rake in."

Rating: Positive (4)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

10. Posted by Roli, 03/04/2022 9:45

"Quite surprised by Domenicali's statement that its F1's duty to hold a race there. How about making a statement saying "we will not race there unless human rights are adhered", but its all about money"

Rating: Positive (6)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

11. Posted by Kristofforo, 03/04/2022 9:38

"I don’t think that human rights are ‘politics’. "

Rating: Positive (6)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

12. Posted by Cobra Driver, 03/04/2022 9:32

"Domenicali, I get the picture. You don't want to do politics, you want to do banking."

Rating: Positive (4)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

Share this page

X

Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2022. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms