The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix promoter says it “would love” to include all-women’s championship W Series as a support event at its inaugural Formula 1 race next year.

A street race in Jeddah was confirmed on the 2021 F1 calendar last week. Yesterday W Series and F1 confirmed a new partnership which will see the junior championship appear at eight grands prix.

Under Saudi Arabia’s male guardianship system women face much tighter limits on their freedom than in other countries. Rules banning them from driving cars were only relaxed in 2018, and human rights groups state some women who protested against the laws remain in jail.

A group of women racers participated in a Formula E test when the championship held its first race weekend in Saudi Arabia at the end of 2018.

The president of Saudi Arabia’s motorsport federation prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Faisal is keen for W Series to come to the country with Formula 1. “I would love to see a race or host them in Saudi Arabia,” he said. “I know there are eight rounds and hopefully we’ll be one of the lucky countries to host them in Saudi Arabia.

“For us in the last two years we really are promoting women and especially women in motor sports. So this is something that we would love. We would like to inspire our locals, we would like to bring them these type of events and we would like to see more ladies or more women racing in Saudi Arabia.”

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Start, Albert Park, 2019
2021 F1 calendar: Guide to next year’s races

Reema al Juffali, a female racer from Jeddah, is competing in the British Formula 4 championship this year.

“Now we are starting with the karting and we have Reema Juffali who is racing in Formula 4,” continued the prince. “For us it’s very important for us to bring them here.

“Sport is for all and we’re really pushing the women and motor sport in Saudi Arabia, we are really taking it seriously. It’s going to be something good to inspire our women here in Saudi Arabia. So hopefully we can get to an agreement and can host them with the Formula 2.”

W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir said yesterday a race in Saudi Arabia could be an option for the championship. “I have no objection about going to Saudi Arabia provided we can establish a meaningful relationship,” she said. “And I think that would take some time to put together.”

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